After Boko Haram had agreed to release the 82 Chibok girls it has held captive. After the rescue, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari welcomed the girls back.
Upon their release, the girls traveled to a medical center for a checkup. After this, they headed to a reception in the capital Nigerian city of Abuja. Armed soldiers escorted the girls enroute to the president. “I cannot express in a few words how happy I am to welcome our dear girls back to freedom,” President Buhari had reportedly told the girls. “On behalf of all Nigerians, I will like to share my joy with you,” he added.
Negotiations for the girls’ release had been ongoing.
President Buhari had also expressed his appreciation to “security agencies, the military, the Government of Switzerland, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and local and international NGOs” for their assistance. According to a report from the BBC, negotiations involving the Red Cross also secured the release of 21 girls last October. Meanwhile, President Buhari said his government had also remained “in constant touch through negotiations.”
Negotiations involved releasing militants in exchange for girls’ freedom.
According to a report from The Guardian, the negotiation for the girls’ release involved the release of five militant leaders. Mustapha Zanna, a barrister who was once the lawyer of Boko Haram founder Majoammed Yusuf, negotiated for the girls’ release. Meanwhile, the Red Cross and Swiss government also reportedly played a role in the girls’ rescue operation.
Nonetheless, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said they did not take part in negotiating for the girls’ release. “We were not involved in the negotiations for their release, as negotiations often imply a political process which is contrary to the apolitical-neutral nature of the ICRC’s work,” a spokeswoman explained.
Although the Chibok girls are said to be in good physical condition, two of the girls rescued had physical injuries. One girl has a wrist injury while another girl was on crutches. The girls were expected to be reunited with their families on the same day as their rescue.