CLOSE

Nigerian officials say that Boko Haram militants have released 82 schoolgirls out of a group of more than 200 who were kidnapped in April 2014. The girls were reportedly released through negotiations with the government, but few details have been confirmed.
USA TODAY

Five commanders of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram were released in exchange for 82 Nigerian schoolgirls freed this weekend after more than three years in captivity, authorities said Sunday.

The Nigerian government previously issued a statement saying a deal had been struck in return for “some” Boko Haram suspects. Nigerian media initially had reported that two militants had been released. Nigerian Sen. Shehu Sai said Sunday that five commanders were released.

“No price is too high to pay for the release of the Girls,” Sai said on Twitter.

The girls flew Sunday to the Nigerian capital of Abuja from the Borno state capital of Maiduguri, where they spent the night after their release Saturday from a town near the Cameroon border. The girls were driven in a military convoy to the State House to meet the president, Africanews.com reported.

Read more:

Boko Haram, which means “Western Education Is Forbidden,” was founded two decades ago and declared solidarity with the Islamic State in 2015. The group made international headlines in 2014 when it kidnapped almost 300 female students, most of them Christian, from a government school in the Borno state town of Chibok. Borno, which forms the northeastern tip of the Nigeria, has been a hotbed for deadly attacks by militant Islamic insurgents who burned villages, kidnapped women and…