Freed Chibok girls to meet Buhari after swap deal

ABUJA: Eighty-two of the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria in 2014 on Sunday headed to meet President Muhammadu Buhari after a prisoner swap deal with Boko Haram secured their release. The presidency announced late on Saturday that months of talks with the fighters had “yielded results” some six months after 21 of their classmates were freed with the help of international mediators.
“Today 82 more Chibok girls were released,” a statement said.
“After lengthy negotiations, our security agencies have taken back these girls, in exchange for some Boko Haram suspects held by the authorities.”
No details were given about how many suspects were released or their identities.
But AFP understands three Chadian nationals, allegedly senior commanders under Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, were handed over.
Military and civilian militia sources in the town of Banki, on the border with Cameroon, said the girls left for Borno state capital Maiduguri on board six military helicopters at 6:10 am.
“One of the girls was carrying a baby with her, a boy of less than two years,” said the source on condition of anonymity.
The presidency said the teenagers would be brought to Abuja to meet Buhari, who was swept to power on a promise to defeat Boko
Haram, whose insurgency has killed at least 20,000 people in Nigeria since 2009.
Shehu Sani, a Nigerian senator who has been involved in previous negotiations, said the talks lasted for “three to four months”.
The government would now look to secure the release of the remaining hostages, he added.— AFP