Chibok schoolgirls released in exchange for detained Boko Haram suspects

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The ICRC, which along with the Swiss government has mediated months of negotiations between Nigeria's government and Boko Haram, tweeted what might be the first public image of the freed schoolgirls on Sunday.

"There is no cause for worry" about this latest medical leave, a statement from his office said, adding that the length of Buhari's stay in London will be determined by his doctors.

On his part, the chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Borno state chapter, described yesterday's Sunday Service as the most memorable and joyous in his life time due to the release of the 82 Chibok girls after 3 years in captivity.

Boko Haram fighters stormed the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok on the evening of April 14 2014 and kidnapped 276 teenaged girls.

"Congrats Nigeria", the president's special adviser Femi Adesina tweeted.

The president said the schoolgirls were freed in exchange for detained suspected extremists in the largest negotiated release so far of the almost 300 girls whose mass abduction in 2014 highlighted the threat of Nigeria's homegrown extremist fighters who are linked to the Islamic State group.

Some parents of the kidnapped girls are in the capital, Abuja.

"One of the girls was carrying a baby with her, a boy of less than two years", said the source on condition of anonymity.

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The ICRC said it had acted as a neutral intermediary to transport the girls into Nigerian custody.

Some relatives did not live long enough to see their daughters released. The kidnapping shocked the world and put tremendous pressure on Nigeria's government to counter Boko Haram and free thousands of its captives. Others did not want to come home because they had been radicalised by their captors, they said.

Last year, a first group of 21 Chibok girls was freed in October, and they have been in government care for medical attention, trauma counselling and rehabilitation.

But the groundswell eventually waned and the Associated Press reports, numerous girls were forced into marriages with their captors and others were feared to have been forced into suicide bombing missions.

"These girls have been in captivity for three years and they've gone through very hard, challenging and horrendous experiences".

The statement credits the Government of Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross, among other N.G.Os, with helping negotiate the girls' release.

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.

The Bring Back Our Girls campaign said Sunday it was happy that Nigeria's government had committed to rescuing the 113 remaining schoolgirls, and it urged the president to "earnestly pursue" the release of everyone held by Boko Haram. Its insurgency has killed more than 20,000 people and driven 2.6 million from their homes, with millions facing starvation.

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