10 key facts about Boko Haram and kidnapped Chibok girls
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Abuja - Boko Haram
militants freed 82 of more than 200 schoolgirls they kidnapped
from the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok in April 2014 in
exchange for prisoners, the government said on Saturday.
Three years ago, the abduction of the girls from their
secondary school by the jihadist group Boko Haram sparked global
outrage and a celebrity-backed campaign #bringbackourgirls.
For more than two years there was no sign of the girls. But
the discovery of one of them with a baby last May raised hopes
for their safety, with a further two girls found in later months
and a group of 21 released by the Islamist militants in October.
Nigeria thanked Switzerland and the International Committee
of the Red Cross - who brokered the October release - for
helping secure the freedom of the 82 girls after "lengthy
negotiations", the presidency said in a statement.
Following this release, 113 of the Chibok girls are believed
to be still in captivity.
Here are 10 key facts about the Chibok girls and Boko Haram
* Since 2009, Boko Haram has waged an insurgency to carve
out an Islamic state in northeast Nigeria that has killed at
least 20,000 people and displaced more than two million.
* The most high-profile attack took place on April 14, 2014,
when Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from a secondary
school in Chibok in northeast Borno state. Around 50 of the
girls escaped in the initial melee but 219 were captured.
* Nigeria's government and military, then under the command
of former president Goodluck Jonathan, faced heavy criticism for
their handling of the incident, with towns and cities across the
nation witnessing protests.
* The kidnappings sparked a strong social media reaction,
with the phrase #bringbackourgirls tweeted around 3.3 million
times by mid-May 2014, and the global campaign which followed
backed by then US First Lady Michelle Obama.
* Hope for the girls was briefly raised in April 2015 when
the Nigerian military announced it had rescued 200 girls and 93
women from the Sambisa forest, northeast of Chibok. It was later
revealed that the Chibok girls were not among them.
* One of the Chibok girls, Amina Ali, was rescued in May
2016. Held for months by the Nigerian government, she told her
mother the girls were starved and resorted to eating raw maize,
and that some had died in captivity, suffered broken legs or
gone deaf after being too close to explosions.
* At least 2,000 girls and boys have been kidnapped by Boko
Haram since the beginning of 2014, according to Amnesty
International, which says they are used as cooks, sex slaves,
fighters and even suicide bombers.
* Boko Haram used 27 children to carry out suicide attacks
in West Africa in the first three months this year, almost
surpassing the total of 30 child bombings during 2016, said the
UN children's agency UNICEF.
* The militants split last year with one faction moving away
from the group's established figurehead Abubakar Shekau over his
failure to adhere to guidance from Islamic State to which Boko
Haram pledged allegiance in 2015.
* The group of 21 girls freed in October have since been
held in a secret location in the capital Abuja for assessment,
support and debriefing by the Nigerian government.