Nigeria Chibok girls: At least 80 freed by Boko Haram

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The abduction of the “Chibok girls” triggered a global outcry

Islamist militants of the Boko Haram group have released about 80 schoolgirls from a group of 276 they abducted in north-eastern Nigeria three years ago, officials say.

The release reportedly came after talks with the government, though few details are confirmed.

The abduction of the so-called “Chibok girls” triggered a global outcry and sparked a huge social media campaign.

Before the latest release, about 195 of the girls were still missing.

Agence France-Presse quoted a senior minister as confirming the release.

The Sahara Reporters website quoted a source as saying the freed girls were now in the town of Banki in Borno state, awaiting an airlift.

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The girls pictured in May 2014, shortly after their kidnapping

They would be taken to a secure location, the source said, for debriefing and would then be reunited with their families.

After the abduction in 2014, a number of girls escaped and Boko Haram then freed 21 last October, after negotiations with the Red Cross.

Last month, President Muhammadu Buhari said the government remained “in constant touch through negotiations, through local intelligence to secure the release of the remaining girls and other abducted persons unharmed”.

Many of the Chibok girls were Christian, but were encouraged to convert to Islam and to marry their kidnappers during their time in captivity.

Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands of other people during its seven-year insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria.

More than 30,000 others have been killed, the government says, and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee from their homes.

Boko Haram at a glance:

  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, hundreds abducted, including hundreds of schoolgirls
  • Seized large area in north-east Nigeria, where it declared caliphate
  • Joined so-called Islamic State, now calls itself IS’s “West African province”
  • Regional force has now retaken most of the captured territory
  • Group split in August after rival leaders emerged

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