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Boko Haram faction may release more Chibok girls

By on October 17, 2016

Following the release of 21 out of over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in 2014 from their school in Nigeria,a faction of the militant group Boko Haram may be willing to free 83 more, Garba Shehu, the president’s spokesman said on Sunday.

Around 220 girls were taken from their school in 2014 in Chibok in northeastern Borno state, where Boko Haram has waged a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic state, killing thousands and displacing more than 2 million people.

A faction of the militant group released 21 of the girls on Thursday after the Red Cross and the Swiss government brokered a deal. They were brought from the northeastern city of Maiduguri to the capital Abuja to meet state officials.

“The faction said it is ready to negotiate if the government is willing to sit down with them,” said Shehu, adding that the state is prepared to negotiate with the branch of Boko Haram.

The Islamic State-allied splinter group said the rest of the kidnapped Chibok girls were with the part of Boko Haram under the control of figurehead Abubakar Shekau, according to Shehu.

President Buhari has repeatedly said he would be willing to negotiate with the group if its genuine leaders are identified.

One is believed to be controlled by the elusive leader, Mr. Shekau, and another by Musab al-Barnawi, who is said to be the son of the group’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf.

The conditions for the release of the 21 girls on Thursday are not yet clear.

The militants still controlled a small territory but Nigeria’s army has recaptured most of the territory. The group still stages suicide bombings in the northeast, as well as in neighbouring Niger and Cameroon.

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