The Nigerian Federal Government on Thursday said it will not relent till the last of the over 200 school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents in the Borno State town of Chibok in April 2014 are released.
“We will not relent until all are back,” the minister of women’s affairs and social development, Aisha Alhassan, told reporters in the capital, Abuja.
The mass abduction of nearly 300 schoolgirls from a boarding school three years ago brought world attention to Boko Haram’s deadly rampage in northern Nigeria. Thousands have been kidnapped or killed in the group’s eight-year insurgency, with millions driven from their homes.
On Saturday, 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls were released. Nigeria’s government exchanged them for five detained Boko Haram commanders, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to reporters on the matter. Negotiations with the extremist group, mediated by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government, also resulted in the October release of a first group of 21 Chibok girls.
Alhassan said Nigeria’s government had no regrets about exchanging Boko Haram commanders for the schoolgirls’ release.
“We’ll do it again if needed,” she said in comments tweeted by Nigeria’s government.