Boko Haram Released 21 Of The Kidnapped Schoolgirls

By R. A. Jayme - 19 Oct '16 18:26PM

Boko Haram released 21 of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls the terror group kidnapped in April 2014. The girls were finally reunited with their families in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, on Sunday after more than two years in captivity.

There were no words about the girls since the night Boko Haram - which, roughly translated, means "Western education is a sin" - stormed a school on April 14, 2014, where the young women were preparing for exams. About 276 girls were abducted by Boko Haram in April 2014; 50 managed to escape on the night of the kidnapping. CNN reported that the 200 others were taken prisoner, either forced to marry Boko Haram fighters, or serve as slaves to the militants.

Those who refused endured more than two years of servitude, washing, fetching water and cooking for Boko Haram. The girls, nearly all of them Christians, lived in grass huts and were forced to convert to Islam. At first they ate rice and maize. But then food became scarce. During their captivity in the forest, a few of them died.

The Nigerian government negotiated the freedom of the abducted girls with the help of the Swiss government and the Red Cross, according to The New York TImes. The terms of the deal are a little shady: Some sources say the girls were released as part of a prisoner exchange, others have said Boko Haram received ransom payments.

The Nigerian government has denied any swap, and said it wasn't "aware" of any payments made to the group. Franc24 reported that the Swiss government refuted the ransom allegations. Negotiations will continue Monday to free the remaining girls, but sources tell CNN that only 83 out of the 197 left are being negotiated for.

The Nigerian government is currently negotiating with a Boko Haram splinter group that is more closely affiliated with ISIS. Boko Haram, which pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2015, has started to fracture, and that seems to have helped create the conditions for the release of the first 21 girls.

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