21 of the Missing Chibok Schoolgirls Have Been Released

The release of 21 of the missing Chibok schoolgirls is the result of negotiations between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram.

21 of the missing Chibok schoolgirls have reportedly been freed. The news comes 30 months after 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria.

The Official Spokesperson to President Buhari, Mallam Garba Shehu, confirmed the girls' release in a series of tweets.

“It is confirmed that 21 of the missing Chibok Girls have been released and are in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS,” he said, continuing that the release is the outcome of negotiations between the Nigerian government administration and Boko Haram brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss government. According to Garba Shehu, the negotiations will continue, and the names of the individual schoolgirls will be revealed shortly.

Sahara Reporters, where the news first broke this morning, reports that the girls were picked up by military helicopter from the Banki area of Borno state, where Boko Haram militants dropped them off earlier on Thursday. “The release of the 21 girls comes as President Buhari began a three-day trip to Germany to discuss assistance for the rebuilding of the northeastern part of Nigeria ravaged by Boko Haram,” the outlet says.

The deal allegedly involved a prisoner swap of detained Boko Haram militants. Sahara Reporters has tweeted that the 21 girls were swapped with four high profile Boko Haram militants. They’re also reporting that 18 of the 21 freed girls are nursing mothers.

As the BBC points out, 197 of the Chibok girls are still missing.

This is a developing story.