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  1. ITV Report

Boko Haram release dozens of Chibok schoolchildren

The girls were kidnapped in 2014. Credit: ITV News

Dozens of Chibok schoolchildren have been released by Boko Haram militants after spending more than three years in captivity.

The girls, who were abducted from a secondary school in the remote north eastern town of Chibok in 2014, were released after tense negotiations with the government, according to one official said.

A total of 82 children - who were among a group of about 220 who were initially kidnapped - were released on Saturday.

Five Boko Haram commanders were released in an exchange deal, a Nigerian government official said Sunday.

The girls are expected to meet with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari later on Sunday.

This is such encouraging news after three heartbreaking years for families in Chibok.

What is unknown at the moment is how many of the girls are still enslaved. But we must now urge authorities and negotiators not to give up until every single one of them has been safely returned.

And we must ensure safe schools so that girls everywhere can be educated free of fear.

– Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education
Widespread protests took place when they girls were kidnapped. Credit: AP

Their kidnap shocked the world and sparking a huge campaign with the slogan "Bring Back Our Girls", supported by then-US First Lady Michelle Obama and a list of celebrities.

For more than two years there was no sign of the Chibok schoolgirls but the discovery of one of the girls with a baby in May 2016 fuelled hopes for their safety, with a further two girls found in later months.

More than 20 were released in October in a deal brokered by Switzerland and the International Red Cross, while a handful of others have escaped or been rescued.

About 100 are still missing.