Nigeria’s Boko Haram frees 21 Chibok schoolgirls

Twenty-one of the schoolgirls who were captured by Boko Haram in 2014 have been freed, according to the Nigerian president’s spokesman.

According to Garba Shehu, the girls’ freedom was secured as “the outcome of negotiations between the administration and Islamist militants.” The spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari said on Twitter that the negotiations were mediated by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Swiss government.

The negotiations are still continuing, and the freed girls, who were released in exchange for four militants, are currently with the security forces. Both the girls and the militants were reportedly transported by ICRC vehicles.

“I can only weep, right now. You know that kind of cry that is a mix of multiple emotions,” Obiageli Ezekwesili, one of the leaders of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, tweeted out upon hearing the news.

President Buhari also took to Twitter to say that he welcomed the release of the girls “following successful negotiations.”

In 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped more than 270 students from a school in Chibok, and although 50 of the girls were able to escape on the day of their capture, that left more than 200 girls still captive and sparked international outrage as activists pushed world leaders to #BringBackOurGirls.