Buhari says Chibok girls will re-enter society

Posted May 09, 2017

When asked by if she was concerned that Boko Haram commanders were being released in exchange of the freed Chibok girls, Obe said: "I think for now, let us put ourselves in the shoes of the parents of the kidnapped girls".

The president said the schoolgirls were freed in exchange for detained suspected extremists in the largest negotiated release so far of the almost 300 girls whose mass abduction in 2014 highlighted the threat of Nigeria's homegrown extremist fighters who are linked to the Islamic State group.

Even parents in Abuja - where the 82 girls were flown in order to meet President Muhammadu Buhari before he left the country for medical treatment - were waiting to see if they would be reunited with their daughters.

(AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba). Girls who escaped early on said some of their classmates had died from illness.

The names of the 82 Chibok schoolgirls newly freed from Boko Haram extremists in Nigeria have been released.

The rehabilitation process has previously been criticised, mainly for keeping the girls in Abuja, around 560 miles from their families in Chibok.

Adesina said Buhari would have left earlier on Sunday but wanted to meet the students, who were kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamists in northeast Nigeria in April 2014, causing worldwide outrage. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to reporters on the matter.

Neither the government nor Boko Haram, which has links to the Islamic State group, gave details about the exchange. The insurgency has claimed the lives of 20,000 people and driven 2.6 million from their homes.

None of the 21 girls who were released in October have been able to move back home, and almost seven months later they are still being held on a military re-integration programme. Human rights groups have criticized the decision to keep them in custody in Abuja.

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There are still 113 girls missing, of the 276 abducted in 2014.

The government secured the release with mediation by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

President Buhari said the girls' freedom was "a pleasant second anniversary gift to the people of Nigeria".

"If that includes swapping some Boko Haram elements for the girls, so what?"

"They develop Stockholm syndrome, identify with captors and want to remain", said Akilu, who has run deradicalisation programs for Boko Haram militants and women abducted by them.

Human rights advocates also fear some of the girls have been used by Boko Haram to carry out suicide bombings as part of the group's insurgency.

Parents anxiously scanned the list to see if their daughters were among those who were released three years after their capture.

The former military ruler then contradicted his aides insistence that he was "hale and hearty", telling his senior ministers he had undergone blood transfusions and had never been as sick in his life.