Tears of joy as 21 kidnapped Chibok girls freed in ‘prisoner swap deal’

More than 20 of the Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped more than two years ago have now been freed. The 21 girls, who were among 276 abducted from a school in north-eastern Nigeria by militant group Boko Haram in April 2014, were freed after negotiations brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss government. They were reportedly exchanged for four Boko Haram prisoners but the Nigerian government has not yet confirmed it. They have now been taken to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

I can only weep, right now. You know that kind of cry that is a mix of multiple emotions

Obiageli Ezekwesili, one of the leaders of the #BringBackOurGirls movement

The girls were taken as part of the extremist group’s seven-year fight to establish a strict Islamic state in the north-east of the country. Their kidnapping drew attention to the jihadist insurgency and kicked off the Twitter campaign Bring Back Our Girls. They have been seen in three videos released by Boko Haram but so far they have not been located and 200 are still held by the group. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said the girls had converted to Islam and were “married off”.

We thank the federal government and, like Oliver Twist, we ask for more

Camapigner Prof Hauwa Biu