Nigeria Exchanges Prisoners for 82 Chibok Girls

Nigeria Exchanges Prisoners for 82 Chibok Girls

REUTERS

Boko Haram militants in May 2017 released 82 schoolgirls who had been kidnapped from the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok.

The terrorist group, which kidnapped about 270 girls in April 2014, has killed 20,000 people and displaced more than 2 million during a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic caliphate in northeastern Nigeria. Dozens escaped in the initial melee, but more than 200 remained missing for more than two years.

Nigeria thanked Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for helping to secure the release of the 82 girls after “lengthy negotiations,” the president’s office said in a prepared statement. The release was part of a prisoner exchange. Nigeria did not say how many Boko Haram prisoners were released.

More than 20 girls were released in October 2016 in a deal brokered by the ICRC. Others have escaped or been rescued. Many remain in captivity.

Although the Army has retaken much of the territory initially lost to Boko Haram, large parts of the northeast, particularly in Borno State, remain under threat. Suicide bombings and gun attacks have increased in the region since the end of the rainy season in late 2016.

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