82 girls released by Boko Haram

A group of 82 girls held captive for three years by Islamist militants met Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in the capital Abuja on Sunday a day after they were released in exchange for several militant commanders, officials said.

The girls were among a group of 270 schoolgirls kidnapped in April 2014 by the militant group Boko Haram, which has waged an eight-year-old insurgency to create an Islamist caliphate, killing thousands and forcing more than two million from their homes.

The government secured the release with mediation by the International Committee of the Red Cross. A military source said three Boko Haram commanders had been freed in an exchange, but declined to give further details.

Photographs released by the ICRC showed a line of girls wearing vests emblazoned with the charity’s logo waiting to board a military helicopter.

The military source said the girls had been flown from Banki near the border with Cameroon to Maiduguri and then Abuja, where they first got a medical checkup at a police hospital before being driven in two buses to the presidential villa.

Their meeting with the president apparently took place before they were reunited with their parents and relatives.

 

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