Nigerian Officials: 21 abducted Chibok schoolgirls freed after 2014 kidnapping

FILE- In this Tuesday, April. 14, 2015 file photo, young girls known as Chibok Ambassadors, carry placards bearing the names of the girls kidnapped from the government secondary school in Chibok, two years ago, during a demonstration, in Abuja, Nigeria. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is inviting the United Nations to help negotiations to swap the kidnapped schoolgirls from Chibok for detained leaders of the Boko Haram Islamic extremist group. A government statement said Buhari's offer is a "show of commitment" made to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday Sept. 21, 2016, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. AP Photo/Sunday Alamba File)
FILE- In this Tuesday, April. 14, 2015 file photo, young girls known as Chibok Ambassadors, carry placards bearing the names of the girls kidnapped from the government secondary school in Chibok, two years ago, during a demonstration, in Abuja, Nigeria. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is inviting the United Nations to help negotiations to swap the kidnapped schoolgirls from Chibok for detained leaders of the Boko Haram Islamic extremist group. A government statement said Buhari's offer is a "show of commitment" made to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday Sept. 21, 2016, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. AP Photo/Sunday Alamba File)

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) – Nigerian officials say 21 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram extremists more than two years ago have been freed.

Presidential spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu tweeted Thursday that the girls are in the custody of Nigeria’s Department of State Services.

He said the release is a result of negotiations between the government and Boko Haram, brokered by the Swiss government and the International Red Cross. He said negotiations will continue.

The abduction of 276 schoolgirls in April 2014 brought international condemnation of Boko Haram, Nigeria’s home-grown Islamic extremist group. Dozens of the girls escaped, but most remain missing.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has said the girls would only be released if the government swaps them for detained extremist leaders.

 

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