Boko Haram Releases 82 Girls Kidnapped In Nigeria

Rebeca Samuel the mother of one of the abducted Chibok girls breaks down in tears at an April Bring Back Our Girls event

The Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign group has described the recent release of 82 Chibok girls from the captivity of Boko Haram as heart warming.

Buhari's spokesman Femi Adesina said: "The president has said that as numerous girls are alive; his administration will strive to get them back".

The reception was attended by ministers, Service Chiefs and other government officials.

The welcome ceremony of the girls with the president came shortly before the 74-year-old leader left for the United Kingdom for a medical consultation amid concerns over his health.

"President (Muhammadu) Buhari is pleased to announce that negotiations to release more of the Chibok girls have borne fruit with the release of 82 more girls today (Saturday) after months of patient negotiations".

"The location of the girls kept changing since yesterday when the operation to rescue them commenced", said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to make the announcement. "Many of the parents of the girls are anxious about the identities of the girls", said Maina Mohammed, uncle of one of the abducted girls.

The girls were driven through Abuja to the hospital in a military convoy.

"We've always made it clear that we will do everything in our power to ensure the freedom & safe return of our daughters & of all [Boko Haram] captives", Buhari said on his Twitter account. Some of the girls brought babies fathered by the militants.

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Numerous students wore colourful akara print dresses, visibly exhausted from their ordeal.

A group of 21 Chibok girls was freed in October, and they have been in government care in Abuja for medical attention, trauma counseling and rehabilitation.

Boko Haram fighters stormed the girls' school on the evening of April 14, 2014, and kidnapped 276 teenaged girls who were preparing to sit high school exams. Around 57 managed to escape, but more than 200 had remained missing for more than two years.

Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau claimed in a video message that they had converted to Islam.

The mass abduction shocked the world, sparking a global #Bringbackourgirls campaign supported by former United States first lady Michelle Obama and other celebrities. We have been waiting for this day.

The party hailed the girls for their bravery "having survived the very harrowing experiences in the past three years, and their parents and families who have endured the nervy and traumatic wait for their children".

Other Nigerians, including some parents of the kidnapped girls, gathered in Abuja at the Unity Fountain to celebrate the weekend release.

Boko Haram, which has pledged loyalty to Islamic State, has kidnapped hundreds of men, women and children in its campaign to carve out a medieval Islamist caliphate. An official told the AP that the girls were located near Banki in the state of Borno.

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