Chibok School Girls: Boko Haram Leaders Freed in Swap Deal?

Women gather to protest the kidnapping of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok.

Women gather to protest the kidnapping of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok. (Google Images)

Jason Hanna and Nima Elbagir of CNN are reporting that conflicting information about the details surrounding the release of 21 Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria by Islamist militants Boko Haram is being reported by various sources. The Nigerian government has insisted that the girls were freed without any strings, but other reports have surfaced that Boko Haram leaders were released in exchange for the release of the schoolgirls. They write:

Conflicting information is emerging about what Boko Haram received in exchange for releasing 21 Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria this week after holding them for two years.

“A number of Boko Haram commanders” were freed as part of Thursday’s release of the girls, a source close to the negotiations between the Islamist militant group and the Nigerian government said on condition of anonymity. This contrasts with what the Nigerian government has said, which is that the girls’ release was not a prisoner exchange. 

“This was not a swap,” Nigerian Information Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed said Thursday. “It is a release, the product of painstaking negotiations and trust on both sides.”
A separate source, one with direct knowledge about the girls’ release, told CNN Thursday that no captive Boko Haram fighters were released in exchange for the girls.
 

The 21 girls released are believed to be from the larger group of 276 schoolgirls that were kidnapped from a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria in April of 2014.

Read more at CNN.

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