The Islamic militia Boko Haram has free 21 girls believed to be part of the 200 girls abducted back in April from Chibok a northern town in Nigeria. The release of the 21 girls is said to have come after mediation effort by Switzerland and Red Cross.
The Jihadist group, Boko Haram has waged a seven-years-long insurgency in Chibok located in the remote northeastern Borno State. Their efforts are geared toward establishing an Islamic State. These efforts, have led to the Boko Haram claiming thousands of lives and driving about two million people away from their homes.
The 21 girls were taken from the northeastern city of Maiduguri to the capital Abuja. The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, was among the first government officials to meet the released girls. “I met them about an hour ago, and I can confirm they are in good health,” said Osinbajo. “In the next few days or months, we will be able to negotiate the release of more of the girls.”
The Presidential press released a picture of the girls when they met Osinbajo, showing one of the girls holding a baby. There are reports that the Nigeria government has swapped captured Boko Haram fighter with the 21 girls released.
However, the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed has come out to deny these claims saying he is not aware of any ransom being paid in exchange for the girls.
Switzerland spokeswoman said, they “facilitated contacts between Nigerian representatives and intermediaries of Boko Haram,” following a request to do so from Abuja. When asked if there was a prisoner swap, the Switzerland said, “We have nothing to add.”
Over the past few days, the Nigerian military has been conducting a wide-spread offense against Boko Haram within the Sambisa Forest. Where the militia is believed to be hiding and also serves as their stronghold. Perhaps it might be important to note that last year, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
Of the 270 girls kidnapped, 200 remain unaccounted for, with some having managed to escape from their capture. Their abduction sparked an international condemnation and call for action by various government across the word. People took to social media to call on world leaders to do more toward the safe rescue of the Chibok girls. The tweets were made under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.