82 Chibok girls released by Boko Haram extremists

FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016 file photo released by the Nigeria State House, Chibok schoolgirls recently freed from Islamic extremist captivity are seen during a meeting with Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja, Nigeria. Large numbers of Chibok schoolgirls seized three years ago by Boko Haram have been freed in exchange for detained suspects with the extremist group, Nigeria's government announced early Sunday, May 7, 2017 in the largest release negotiated yet in the battle to save nearly 300 girls whose mass abduction exposed the mounting threat posed by the Islamic State-linked fighters. After the initial release of 21 Chibok girls in October, the government denied making an exchange or paying ransom. (Sunday Aghaeze/Nigeria State House via AP, File)
Vastavam web: Eighty-two Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped three years ago by Boko Haram extremists in northern Nigeria have been released into military custody, authorities said late Saturday. Before the announcement, 195 of the schoolgirls had remained captive after the first negotiated release of 21 girls in October. At the time, Nigeria’s government said another group of 82 girls would be released “very soon.”A Nigerian military official with direct knowledge of the rescue operation said the 82 freed girls were found near the town of Banki in Borno state near Cameroon.
“The location of the girls kept changing since yesterday when the operation to rescue them commenced,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make the announcement.Many of the kidnapped girls, most of whom were Christians, were forced to marry the Islamic extremists and became pregnant. Human rights advocates believe others could be among the young girls who have been used to carry out suicide bombing attacks.
The group representing the families of the girls said they were awaiting direct confirmation from the government.The Nigerian government has denied that a ransom was paid in the October release and that it freed some detained Boko Haram fighters in exchange for the girls. The negotiations were mediated by the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
At the three-year anniversary of the kidnapping in April, the government said negotiations had “gone quite far” but faced challenges.The 276 schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok in northern Nigeria in April 2014 are among thousands of people abducted by the Nigeria-based Boko Haram over the years.