Boko Haram releases 83 schoolgirls kidnapped 3 years ago

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.

They are now with government officials in Nigeria's capital Abuja, where they will be rehabilitated before returning to their parents, many of whom do not know whether their daughters are among those freed.

(AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba).

Featuring on Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily, Adesina made the claim while reacting to a question on security concerns raised over the release of the Boko Haram suspects. Human rights groups have criticized the decision to keep the girls in custody in Abuja, almost 900 kilometers (560 miles) from Chibok. Nigeria thanked Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross for helping secure the release of the 82 girls after "lengthy negotiations", the presidency said in a statement. The official who confirmed the release spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to reporters on the matter.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday met with the 82 Chibok girls before his departure to London for another medical checkup. 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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Last year, a first group of 21 Chibok girls was freed in October, and they have been in government care for medical attention, trauma counseling and rehabilitation. Human rights groups have criticized the decision to keep them in custody in Abuja.

"Since the PDP failed - as it did in everything - to rescue even one of the Chibok girls, the party should hold its peace while this administration continues to seek the release of all the abducted girls, using every means at its disposal, in addition to working assiduously to end all Boko Haram hostilities".

"We will help reunite the girls with their families and make sure they can continue their education in a safe environment".

The statement reads in part: "The President wishes to assure all Nigerians that there is no cause for worry".

Girls who escaped Boko Haram shortly after the 2014 mass kidnapping said some of their classmates had died from illness.

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"They develop Stockholm syndrome, identify with captors and want to remain", said Akilu, who has run deradicalisation programs for Boko Haram militants and women abducted by them.

Some parents did not live long enough to see their daughters released.

"No human being should go through this kind of ordeal".

He said it took the PDP government eternity to acknowledge the abduction, and by that time that could have been used in rescuing the girls was lost.

In a statement issued on Monday in Abuja, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed described the statement as "indecent, inhuman and ill-timed".

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