Newly-freed Chibok girls meet Nigerian president

Posted May 13, 2017

In this photo released by the Nigeria State House, Nigeria's President, Muhammadu Buhari, centre, meets with Chibok school girls recently freed from Nigeria Extremist captivity in Abuja, Nigeria, Sunday, Ma.

Mr Buhari said he was joyous that they were free.

The personal assistant to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Bashir Ahmad, tweeted that "huge numbers" had been released.

The girls were handed over on Saturday in exchange for Boko Haram suspects after negotiations. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to reporters on the matter.

Boko Haram, which previous year pledged loyalty to Islamic State, has kidnapped hundreds of men, women and children in its campaign to carve out a medieval Islamist caliphate. Militants have killed more than 20,000 people, forced over 2.5 million to be displaced and adbucted thousands of women, forcing them into sexual slavery or marriages with its fighters. From there they will be flown to Abuja.

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Buhari said last month that the government was in talks to secure the release of the remaining captives. The president expressed his deep gratitude to security agencies, the military, the government of Switzerland, the Red Cross, local and worldwide NGOs for the success of the operation.

The girls were among 276 youngsters abducted in 2014 by the extremist group Boko Haram, which has links to the Islamic State group. "We still have 113 out there waiting to be brought back home but right now, we are delighted, its a happy day and we are looking forward to the fact that 82 families would be able to have undiluted joy when they finally are reunited with their daughters".

Some parents did not live long enough to see their daughters released, underscoring the tragedy of the saga.

The President's aide while speaking on Channels Television's breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, monitored by Nigerian Bulletin on Monday noted that the girls had been spruced up before they arrived at the Villa at 7:00 pm.

After he became president, Buhari pledged that his government would do all it could to rescue the girls, including exchanges, said Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed in a statement Monday, calling the criticism insensitive. "None, however, trounces the sanctity attached to human life and the consideration for the pains of the loved ones of those involved".