82 of the #BringBackOurGirls students have been released

May 9, 2017

Dozens of girls who were kidnapped from their boarding school by Boko Haram militants were released this weekend in exchange for Boko Haram detainees, according to a statement released by Nigeria’s president.

Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

Dozens of girls who were kidnapped from their boarding school by Boko Haram militants were released this weekend in exchange for Boko Haram detainees, according to a statement released by Nigeria’s president.

In April 2014, almost 300 students were kidnapped in an act that shocked the world. Social media campaigns like #BringBackOurGirls and #ChibokGirls arose to keep attention on the missing students. Soon after the initial kidnapping, some of the students escaped, and last year, 21 girls were released as part of an International Red Cross operation.

Reports of this weekend’s release range from 52-82, but The New York Times reports that even with this release, over 100 girls remain under control of Boko Haram. The girls have been forced to marry their captors and work for the group as servants. They are among thousands of people, including other young women, who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram (which translates to “Western education is forbidden in the Hausa language) in the last eight years of its insurgency in Nigeria.

The released girls were received in the capital, Abuja, by Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, who told them,

“I cannot express in a few words how happy I am to welcome our dear girls back to freedom.”

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