On Friday, Nigeria Chief of Staff Alex Badeh announced that as part of a truce with Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, the missing schoolgirls of Government Secondary School (GSS) would be released, reports the BBC.
After meeting with Cameroon in a three-day security meeting, Badeh announced the much-sought-after news of the impending girls’ release. According to Presidential Aide Hassan Tukur, the negotiations between the government and Boko Haram have been ongoing for a month, with Chad acting as the mediator.
By Thursday, Boko Haram had reportedly agreed to a unilitateral ceasfire in response to the truce.
Of the girls’ impending release, Tukur said, “They’ve assured us they have the girls and they will release them,” he said. “I am cautiously optimistic.”
Government Spokesman Mike Omeri also confirmed the significant news of the students’ release, adding, “We are inching closer to release of all groups in captivity, including the Chibok girls,” he said.
On April 14th, nearly 300 girls were kidnapped from GSS as they took exams.
The mass abduction moved the international community — and sparked the ever-present hashtag #BringBackOurGirls — to rally support in returning the girls.
Instead, days turned into weeks and months, with October 14th, marking six months since the students were kidnapped.
In that time, 11 grief-stricken parents have died, while more smaller abductions have taken place of more girls, women, and boys.
In addition, Boko Haram, which has been in existence since 2009, stepped up its assaults on civilians, using sophisticated weaponry to kill and form — town by town — what seemed to be an ever-growing caliphate.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International estimate that between 2,000 to 4,000 people have been killed by the sect in the first seven months of this year.
But the militant group has also suffered some significant loses, particularly as their violence spilled in to Cameroon.
According to published reports, another 100 terrorists were killed on Friday in northern Cameroon as the neighboring nation has had little tolerance for their destructive activities.
Niger, Chad, Nigeria, and the aforementioned Cameroon also began cracking down on Boko Haram’s activities when they joined together with a nearly 3,000-person force in july.
While the Nigerian government hasn’t disclosed what concessions have been made in order to secure the girls, Tukor did say that next week’s meeting in Ndjamena, Chad, would finalize the details of the students’ release.