Nigeria presidency releases names of freed Chibok girls

Posted May 08, 2017

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has shocked his country by announcing he is heading to London for medical checks.

"We've always made it clear that we will do everything in our power to ensure the freedom & safe return of our daughters" and all captives of Boko Haram, Buhari said on his Twitter account.

Minutes later, the 74-year-old startled Africa's most populous nation with the news of his departure. Buhari, who has missed three straight weekly Cabinet meetings, spent a month and a half in London on medical leave earlier this year and said he'd never been as sick in his life. The exact nature of his illness remains unclear.

"On behalf of all Nigerians, I will like to share my joy with you", the president told the girls, who were seen clapping, according to the official picture.

Before Saturday's release, 195 of the girls had remained captive. "He promised that the presidency will personally supervise their rehabilitation".

Amnesty International's Nigeria office said the girls should not have to endure a lengthy government detention or a "publicity stunt" but instead should be given privacy to recover.

Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, has revealed how 82 of the abducted Chibok girls were released.

Ofeibea reports, "Many people say this is hope because the government is talking to the insurgents".

The ICRC along with the Swiss government had mediated months of negotiations between Nigeria and the Boko Haram extremist group to obtain Saturday's release.

Parents of the schoolgirls were waiting for a government list of names of those who had been freed.

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The Rev. Enoch Mark, whose two daughters have been among the missing, was still awaiting word if they were among those freed.

Some relatives did not live long enough to see their daughters released. Two others walked into freedom on their own, making 105 girls out of the Boko Haram clutches.

He also thanked the security agencies, all the non-profit organizations, including the Red Cross, and local authorities who he said were key in the negotiations that culminated in the girls' freedom. Others did not want to come home because they had been radicalised by their captors, they said.

Officials also fear that some of the abducted girls were strapped with explosives and sent on terrorism missions as suicide bombers.

The first batch of 21 were freed last October with the aid of the Red Cross and Switzerland.

At the initial release of girls in October, the government said the release of another 83 would be coming soon.

"I can not express in a few words how happy I am to welcome our dear girls back to freedom".

The audacious kidnapping brought the insurgency to world attention, triggering global outrage that galvanized support from the former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and Hollywood stars.

Nigerians gathered in front of news stands on Monday looking at the names of the freed schoolgirls in local papers.

Although the Nigerian government past year claimed to have "crushed" the militant group, its members have continued to carry out attacks. 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.