Saturday, May 06, 2017

The Latest: Nigeria Says Freed Chibok Girls To Meet Leader

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
MAY 7, 2017



Taken from video by Nigeria's Islamic extremist network, shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok. An unknown number of girls kidnapped from their Nigerian boarding school by jihadists three years ago have been released, a government official said Saturday, May 6, 2017. Family members said they were awaiting names and other information before celebrating.

ABUJA, Nigeria — The Latest on the release of Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped three years ago by Boko Haram extremists in Nigeria (all times local):

12:25 a.m.

Nigeria’s government says the 82 kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls who have been released in an exchange for detained Boko Haram suspects are expected to meet President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in the capital.

Buhari’s office tweeted the first official confirmation of the largest release of Chibok girls since the mass kidnapping of 276 more than three years ago.


The government says the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross helped in negotiations with the extremist group. Similar talks led to the first release of 21 Chibok girls in October.

The latest announcement means 113 girls remain unaccounted for. It is feared some were forced to carry out suicide bombing missions for Boko Haram, which has ties to the Islamic State group.

12:15 a.m.

Nigeria’s government says the release of 82 Chibok schoolgirls who had been kidnapped three years ago by Boko Haram came in exchange for “some Boko Haram suspects held by the authorities.”

The announcement is the first confirmation by the government of any exchange made in its months of negotiations with the extremist group.

After the first negotiated release of 21 Chibok girls in October, the government denied that a ransom was paid or that it freed some detained Boko Haram fighters in exchange for the girls.


The government statement says the freed girls are expected to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in the capital, Abuja.

11 p.m.

A Nigerian military official with knowledge of the rescue operation says 83 Chibok schoolgirls are free more than three years after a mass abduction by Boko Haram extremists.

Family members say they are eagerly awaiting a list of names and “our hopes and expectations are high.”

The official says the schoolgirls were found near the border town of Banki in Borno state near Cameroon. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make the announcement.

The number could not be independently confirmed by The Associated Press. The schoolgirls remained in military custody late Saturday.

While 21 girls had been freed in the first negotiated release in October, 195 had remained hostage until this weekend.

— Haruna Umar in Maiduguri, Nigeria

10:40 p.m.

A Nigerian official says at least 62 Chibok schoolgirls have been released more than three years after they were abducted from their boarding school by Boko Haram extremists.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Family members were eagerly awaiting a list of names late Saturday and said “our hopes and expectations are high.”

Officials say the girls were freed near the town of Banki along the border with Cameroon. They were in military custody late Saturday.

While 21 girls had been freed in the first negotiated release in October, 195 had remained hostage until this weekend.

— Hilary Uguru in Warri, Nigeria

9:55 p.m.

A Nigerian official says more of the Chibok schoolgirls have been released three years after their abduction by Boko Haram extremists, though the exact number is not immediately known.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity late Saturday because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Nearly 200 of the schoolgirls had remained captive before this release.



Many of the girls seized from their boarding school were forced into marriages with fighters and became pregnant.

Nigeria’s government in October announced the first negotiated release of 21 of the schoolgirls.

At the time, it said another group of 83 girls would be released “very soon.”

The government has denied a ransom was paid and that it freed some detained Boko Haram fighters in exchange for the girls.

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