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82 freed Nigerian schoolgirls arrive in nation's capital

18 May 2017

DAILY POST reports that 82 of the abducted girls were on Saturday released to global negotiators who had been working in collaboration with the federal government.‎. Buhari was in Britain earlier this year for more than seven weeks for medical care. He is now travelling to London for medical reasons as concern grows for his health.

He congratulated the girls and their parents, saying he could not express how happy he felt.

Enoch Mark, a Christian pastor whose two daughters were among those kidnapped, said of the latest releases: "This is good news to us".

In Nigeria's capital, Abuja, anxious families were awaiting the official list of names of the 82 schoolgirls freed.

The girls were part of a mass abduction by Boko Haram extremists three years ago. "I hope and pray that my daughter is among these released girls". And the recovery process is expected to be a long one for the girls, many of whom endured sexual assault during their time in captivity.

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A military source said three Boko Haram commanders had been freed in an exchange, but declined to give further details.

In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from a secondary school in the town of Chibok.

Ironside said "it is heartening to know that the girls will be returning to their families who have been waiting for this day".

"It's not just to bring them back home, we must ensure that they get the education they are supposed to have", she said.

The Nigerian government has claimed that Boko Haram has been defeated, but the armed group continues to stage attacks in the northeast, often using child suicide bombers.

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"Remember, we told you when some 21 girls were released in October, last year, that some of their colleagues said they would remain with their captors", he said.

Human rights groups have criticized the decision to keep the girls in custody in Abuja, about 560 miles from Chibok.

Mogherini, in a statement on Sunday, said EU's thoughts are with the released girls as they rebuild their lives.

The Federal Government will like to commend the Security Agencies, the Red Cross, local authorities, local and foreign NGOs and all those who contributed in one way or another to secure the release of our Chibok Girls. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

Their release will be a boost for Buhari, a former military ruler who made crushing the Boko Haram insurgency a major pillar of his election campaign in 2015.

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"With all of these things together we negotiated over a period of several months, and at the end of it some of their (Boko Haram's) members were exchanged for the 82 girls", said Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesman, to the BBC.

82 freed Nigerian schoolgirls arrive in nation's capital