Nigeria’s government is negotiating “seriously” for the release of more than 110 abducted Chibok schoolgirls still held by militants and will exchange more detained members of the Islamic terror extremist group for them if needed, an official said Thursday.
“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 militants’s deadly rampage in northern Nigeria.
Thousands have been abducted or killed in the group’s eight-year campain, with millions driven from their homes. On Saturday, 82 of the Chibok school girls were released. Nigeria’s government exchanged them for five
detained militants 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 militants commanders for the school girls’ release.
“We’ll do it again if needed,” she said in comments tweeted by Nigeria’s government.