82 freed Chibok schoolgirls arrive in Nigeria's capital

Islamic militant group Boko Haram releases 84 out of 200 Nigerian girls held prisoner since 2014More

Islamic militant group Boko Haram releases 84 out of 200 Nigerian girls held prisoner since 2014More

President Muhammadu Buhari said Saturday that some Boko Haram prisoners had been released for the freedom of the schoolgirls, but he did not give any details.

The Nigerian government has declared victory in the fight against Boko Haram, but the group continues to operate in many rural parts of the country's northeast.

"Welcome our girls, welcome our sisters, we are happy to have you back, we are very glad that you are back", said Abba Kyari, chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, as he greeted the girls at a police hospital. The failure of Nigeria's former government to act quickly to free the girls sparked a global Bring Back Our Girls movement; US first lady Michelle Obama posted a photo with its logo on social media. The ICRC acted as a mediator as Nigeria exchanged some detained Boko Haram suspects in return for the girls' release Saturday.

Amnesty International's Nigeria office say the newly released girls will be able to go home with their families quickly so they're not subject to the public and can have privacy.

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"The location of the girls kept changing since yesterday when the operation to rescue them commenced", said the official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make the announcement. Others did not want to come home because they had been radicalised by their captors, they said.

It is the largest release since Boko Haram fighters stormed a secondary school in Chibok in northeastern Nigeria in April 2014 and seized 276 teenaged girls who were preparing to sit high school exams. The extremist group released the first group of 21 Chibok girls in October.

A meeting with Buhari, who was swept to power in 2015 on a promise to defeat Boko Haram, was scheduled for 4:00 pm local time (1500 GMT), officials in Abuja said.

In spite of the focus on the Chibok schoolgirls, the group makes up only a tiny fraction of the thousands of people abducted by Boko Haram. On Friday, the United States and Britain issued warnings that the extremist group was actively planning to kidnap foreigners in an area of Borno state "along the Kumshe-Banki axis".

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The Borno Elders Forum, on Sunday described reports of the release of 82 Chibok school girls from the Boko Haram insurgents as a good omen.

"After months of patient negotiations, our security agencies have taken back these abducted girls in exchange for some Boko Haram suspects held by the authorities".

"My colleagues and I in the 8th Senate will continue to remain committed to the cause of bringing back all our girls, ending the Boko Haram insurgency and ensuring the rehabilitation of the devastated North East zone".

Other Nigerians including some parents of the kidnapped girls gathered in Abuja at the Unity Fountain to celebrate the weekend release.

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Buhari late a year ago announced Boko Haram had been "crushed", but the group continues to carry out attacks in northern Nigeria and neighboring countries.

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