The Latest: Nigeria leader has met with freed Chibok girls


ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — The Latest on the release of Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped three years ago by Boko Haram extremists in Nigeria (all times local)

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8:25 p.m.

Nigeria’s president says he has met with the 82 Chibok schoolgirls freed after being kidnapped by Boko Haram extremists three years ago.

President Muhammadu Buhari says on Twitter that “we’ve always made it clear that we will do everything in our power to ensure the freedom & safe return of our daughters & of all BH captives.”

Photos tweeted by the president show dozens of the freed girls at Buhari’s official residence.

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7:20 p.m.

The 82 Chibok schoolgirls freed from three years of captivity with Boko Haram have arrived at State House, the official residence of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, to meet the leader and the press. The schoolgirls were released by the Islamic extremists in exchange for five Boko Haram commanders.

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6:15 p.m.

Nigerian journalists gathered at State House, the president’s official residence in Abuja, to see President Muhammadu Buhari welcome the 82 Chibok schoolgirls who were released from being held captive by Boko Haram for more than three years. The newly freed young women were flown by helicopters from northeastern Nigeria to Abuja in central Nigeria. The schoolgirls are expected to see their families but be kept in government care for counseling and medical treatment.

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4:45 p.m.

A Nigerian government official says that five Boko Haram commanders have been released in exchange for the 82 Chibok girls.

The confirmation Sunday comes a day after the young women were liberated after more than three years in captivity by the Islamic militants.

There was no comment yet from the Nigerian presidency or Boko Haram, an extremist group linked to the Islamic State. The official who confirmed the release spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to reporters on the matter.

Authorities say 113 of the 276 girls abducted from their boarding school back in 2014 remain missing. Girls who escaped said some of their classmates had died from illness. Others did not want to come home either because they’d been radicalized by their captors.

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Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria

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1:35 p.m.

Amnesty International says the 82 freed Chibok schoolgirls should be quickly released to their families and not be subjected to lengthy government detention.

The rights group’s Nigeria office also says the girls don’t deserve to be put through a “publicity stunt that largely doesn’t reckon with their privacy.”

The newly released schoolgirls were set to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari in the capital later Sunday.

Amnesty International is calling for more attention to victims of “less-publicized mass abductions” by Boko Haram extremists. The group had seized thousands of captives in less than a decade.

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12:05 p.m.

The campaign for the release of the nearly 300 Chibok schoolgirls seized three years ago by Boko Haram says it is glad Nigeria’s government is committed to freeing the 113 girls still unaccounted for.

A statement by the Bring Back Our Girls group on Sunday says the campaign is still waiting for a list of the names of the 82 girls released.

The girls have arrived in the capital, Abuja, and are set to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari.

This is the largest release since Boko Haram seized 276 schoolgirls from Chibok three years ago.

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11:55 a.m.

A special adviser to Nigeria’s president says the 82 freed Chibok schoolgirls have arrived in the capital, Abuja, a day after their release.

Femi Adesina says the girls have been received at the airport by the president’s chief of staff. They are expected to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari later Sunday.

This is the largest release since Boko Haram seized 276 schoolgirls from Chibok three years ago. Nigeria’s government says the release came in exchange for some suspected Boko Haram members who had been detained by authorities.

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11:35 a.m.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has tweeted what might be the first public image of the Chibok schoolgirls freed by Boko Haram extremists.

The ICRC tweet shows a line of girls wearing shirts with the Red Cross logo walking across a runway to a waiting helicopter.

“A happy sight for families missing moved ones,” the aid group says. The ICRC acted as a mediator as Nigeria exchanged some detained Boko Haram suspects in return for the girls’ release Saturday.

This is the largest release since Boko Haram seized 276 schoolgirls from Chibok three years ago.

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11:25 a.m.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says it acted as a neutral intermediary and transported the 82 freed Chibok schoolgirls into the hands of Nigeria’s government.

The ICRC along with the Swiss government had mediated months of negotiations between Nigeria and the Boko Haram extremist group to obtain Saturday’s release.

The release follows the freeing of a first group of 21 Chibok schoolgirls in October. Saturday’s release is the largest since Boko Haram seized 276 Chibok girls in a mass abduction three years ago.

ICRC deputy regional coordinator Patrick Youssef says the 82 girls soon will meet with their families.

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11 a.m.

Nigeria’s presidential spokesman says President Muhammadu Buhari will meet the newly released Chibok schoolgirls at 4 p.m. local time Sunday.

Garba Shehu said that Buhari will receive the 82 schoolgirls in Abuja who were freed Saturday after lengthy negotiations with Boko Haram. The girls were released near the town of Banki in Borno state near Cameroon and will be transported to the capital, Abuja.

Before Saturday’s release, 195 of the girls had been captive. Now 113 of the girls remain unaccounted for.

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AP writer Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria

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9:35 a.m.

Nigeria’s president says he will meet Sunday with 82 Chibok schoolgirls freed this weekend after being kidnapped three years ago by Boko Haram.

President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement that he will receive the released schoolgirls in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

The president said the schoolgirls were freed in exchange for detained suspected extremists in the largest negotiated release so far of the nearly 300 girls whose mass abduction in 2014 highlighted the threat of Nigeria’s homegrown extremist fighters who are linked to the Islamic State group.

Before Saturday’s release, 195 of the girls had been captive. Now 113 of the girls remain unaccounted for.

As news of the latest release broke, long-suffering family members said they are eagerly awaiting a list of names and their “hopes and expectations are high.”