82 freed schoolgirls to meet Nigerian president

Eighty-two of the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria in 2014 arrived in Abuja yesterday to meet President Muhammadu Buhari after a prisoner swap deal secured their release.

President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has commended the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government, security operatives, and the global Red Cross on the release of 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls, that were part of the group abducted by Boko Haram in 2014.

ABUJA, Nigeria - Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari expressed joy at meeting Sunday with the 82 Chibok schoolgirls newly freed after being held captive for three years by Boko Haram Islamic extremists.

Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, President of Nigeria Union, South Africa, said that the move was a welcome development and sign of good things to come.

After Saturday's release, 113 schoolgirls remain unaccounted for.

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A statement by the Bring Back Our Girls group on Sunday says the campaign is still waiting for a list of the names of the 82 girls released.

Before the latest release, about 195 of the girls were still missing.

"Let me reassure Nigerians, especially relatives and friends of the remaining girls that the Federal Government will spare no effort to see that they and all other Nigerians who have been abducted safely regain their freedom", Buhari said in the statement.

The latest negotiations were again mediated by the Swiss government and the International Committee of the Red Cross, Nigeria's government said. They were released in the north eastern town of Chibok.

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.

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The girls, ages 16 to 18, are believed to be among 276 forced from their beds by Boko Haram militants in the middle of the night in April 2014.

Buky Shonibare, who founded #Bringbackourgirls, said she's thankful for the release but said the girls went through extremely traumatic events. Some parents have not lived long enough to see their daughters released, underscoring the tragedy of the three-year-long saga. The audacious kidnapping brought the insurgency to world attention, triggering global outrage that galvanized support from the former USA first lady Michelle Obama and Hollywood stars.

Garba Shehu said that Buhari will receive the 82 schoolgirls in Abuja who were freed Saturday after lengthy negotiations with Boko Haram. Numerous captive girls, majority Christians, were forced to marry their captors and give birth to children in remote forest hideouts without knowing if they would see their parents again. The kidnapping shocked the world and put tremendous pressure on Nigeria's government to counter Boko Haram and free thousands of its captives.

Buhari late past year announced Boko Haram had been "crushed", but the group continues to carry out attacks in northern Nigeria and neighboring countries.

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