The 21 Chibok school girls freed by Boko Haram in October, will be spending their very first Christmas away from the sect in three years.
The girls, who were kidnapped in April 2014, had their 2014 and 2015 Christmas in Boko Haram’s captivity, as the Nigerian government attempted getting them out of the sect’s den in Sambisa.
Confirming their release in October, Garba Shehu, special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity said: “The release of the girls, in a limited number is the outcome of negotiations between the administration and the Boko Haram brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss government. The negotiations will continue.
“The President welcomes the release of the girls but cautioned Nigerians to be mindful of the fact that more than 30,000 fellow citizens were killed via terrorism,” he said.
On Thursday, rumours were making round on social media that another 21 girls have been released by Boko Haram, only to be debunked by Shehu, who said the girls were only going home to spend Christmas with their families.
“To my friends spreading the news of a further release of Chibok Girls, we are not there yet. The negotiations are ongoing and the Department of State Service, DSS is full of optimism that they will be successful,” Shehu said.
“Today, the DSS took the 21 Girls already secured to Yola, Adamawa State on their way home to celebrate the Christmas with their families.
“No new girls have been released but by God’s grace, they will be. Happy Christmas, everyone.”
In all, 79 girls have regained freedom over the past two and a half years, bringing the total number of girls who have to spend a third consecutive Christmas with Boko Haram to 197.