Dozens of Nigerian girls who were abducted by the terrorist group Boko Haram in 2014 have been released, officials said Saturday.
The girls were released as a result of negotiations between the Nigerian government and the militant organization, Reuters reported. An official told the Associated Press that the girls were located near Banki, a town in the Nigerian state of Borno, near Cameroon.
Multiple news outlets reported Saturday that 82 girls had been turned over to the Nigerian military, although the number could not immediately be confirmed. Bashir Ahmad, an assistant to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, tweeted "huge numbers" Saturday, along with the hashtag #OurGirls.
Buhari announced Sunday that he planned to meet with the 82 girls that day in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, the Associated Press reported.
The girls were freed in exchange for five detained suspected commanders of Boko Haram, the Nigerian government said Sunday.
The newly freed girls are among 276 girls, ages 16 to 18, who were forced from their beds at a boarding school in Chibok, in northern Nigeria, in April 2014. Last October, 21 girls were freed as a result of negotiations.
Several dozen girls also escaped in 2014 soon after the kidnapping. Another kidnapped girl was recovered in May 2016, when witnesses found her wandering in the forest. After Saturday's release, 113 girls remain unaccounted for.
Most of the girls captured by the Islamic extremist group were Christian. Over the three years since they were captured, many of them were repeatedly raped and forced to marry their kidnappers and give birth to their children. It is suspected that some were forced into roles as suicide bombers.
Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Jim Dalrymple II at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ema O'Connor is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Ema O'Connor at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.