Nearly two years after Boko Haram kidnapped more than 270 students from a school in Nigeria’s Chibok, the government secured the release of 21 abducted schoolgirls on Thursday. President’s spokesperson Garba Shehu said that the girls were freed as a result of negotiations between the administration and Islamist militants. The development came as the Nigerian military is engaged in a massive operation against Boko Haram militants in the Sambisa forest.
Of the 270 girls kidnapped in 2014, some 50 had managed to escape on the day of abduction, writes the BBC. Officially, until now only one Chibok girl was released by Boko Haram while another 19-year-old woman, from the abducted group, was rescued by an army-backed vigilante group in May.
The kidnapping triggered global outrage at that time, giving rise to one of the biggest social media campaigns with hashtag # BringBackOurGirls, reports Deutsche Welle. Boko Haram shared a video of 50 Chibok girls in August, offering a prisoner swap deal. Later in September, Information Minister Lai Mohammed, said that the negotiations to get the girls released fell apart three times previously.