Boko Haram militants released the girls following negotiations with the administration.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesperson Mallam Garba Shehu says the terrorist sect Boko Haram has released 21 of the more than 270 female students kidnapped from a secondary school in the town of Chibok in north eastern Nigeria in April 2014. President Buhari said, “As I depart Abuja for Germany on an Official Visit, I welcome the release of 21 of our Chibok Girls, following successful negotiations.”
The release on Thursday, October 13, 2016 was “the outcome of negotiations between the administration and the Islamist militants,” BBC quoted Garba Shehu as having specified. The freed girls, he said were with the Department of State Services, Nigerian domestic intelligence agency. CNN said the girls were taken to the Borno State capital, Maiduguri where they will meet with the Governor. The girls were not immediately named. The agency chief, CNN cited Garba Shehu as saying, briefed the government and has said the girls need to rest "with all of them very tired coming out of the process before he hands them over to the Vice President.”
The president’s spokesman also disclosed that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Swiss government had acted as mediators in the talks with Boko Haram and further stated that the negotiations were continuing. News agencies, citing local sources, said the students were released in exchange for four militants. Reports say the freed students were driven to a military base in ICRC vehicles.
The abduction of the schoolgirls provoked international outcry and a pressure movement called “BringBackOurGirls” was born. After the release of the 21 girls, one of the leaders of the movement, Obiageli Ezekwesili is quoted as saying, "I can only weep, right now. You know that kind of cry that is a mix of multiple emotions."