Three years ago in April 2014, the #BringBackOurGirls campaign was launched after 300 girls in Chibok, Nigeria were abducted at school by extremist group, Boko Haram. Now, the remaining 82 have been freed in exchange for detained suspects. This was the largest release negotiated by the Nigerian government.
The abduction sparked mass outrage around the world with former First Lady Michelle Obama and several other celebrities bringing media attention to it. Many of the girls who were held captive were forced to marry their captors and birth children in remote hideouts without ever knowing if they would see their parents again. Some of relatives didn’t live long enough to see their daughters return home.
Before their release on Saturday, 195 girls remained captive, while 113 were unaccounted for. It was expected for the freed girls to meet with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in the country’s capital of Abuja.
“The location of the girls kept changing since yesterday when the operation to rescue them commenced,” said a Nigerian military official to NBC News with knowledge of the rescue operation but wanted to remain anonymous.
Bukky Shonibare with the #BringBackOurGirls campaign told Sky TV, “This is a very, very exciting news for us that we have over 80 of our girls coming back again. Their life in captivity has been one that depicts suffering, it depicts the fact that they have been starved, abused, and as we have seen before some of those girls have come back with children, and some of them have also come back with news of how they have been sexually abused.”