Nigeria: Scores of kidnapped schoolgirls are freed

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By Lesley Alexander
Nigeria: Scores of kidnapped schoolgirls are freed
Copyright  REUTERS/Ola Lanre

Islamist militants have freed dozens of schoolgirls kidnapped a month ago in Nigeria.

Some 110 girls were seized in Dapchi on February 19, echoing the abductions of the Chibok schoolgirls in 2014.

Witnesses said fighters from the Boko Haram group, some shouting 'God is greatest' drove the majority of the Dapchi girls back into the northeastern town today.

The number of those released has been put at 76 by the government, citing an 'ongoing process'. Witnesses said more than 100 of the girls, aged from 11-19, had been freed.

Some of those released said that five of their friends had died in captivity and another was still being held.

Nigeria's government insists no ransom was paid and that the release was secured through "back-channel efforts and with the help of some friends of the country".

Commentators feared the Dapchi girls had been taken for ransom, after Boko Haram received millions of euros for the release of some of the Chibok girls last year.

The Dapchi abduction has piled pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in 2015 promising to crack down on Boko Haram's nine-year-old insurgency and could face the voters again next year.

with Reuters