The Latest: Nigeria says exchange made for 82 Chibok girls

AP News
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Posted: May 06, 2017 7:15 PM

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — The Latest on the release of Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped three years ago by Boko Haram extremists in Nigeria (all times local):

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12:15 a.m.

Nigeria's government says the release of 82 Chibok schoolgirls who had been kidnapped three years ago by Boko Haram came in exchange for "some Boko Haram suspects held by the authorities."

The announcement is the first confirmation by the government of any exchange made in its months of negotiations with the extremist group.

After the first negotiated release of 21 Chibok girls in October, the government denied that a ransom was paid or that it freed some detained Boko Haram fighters in exchange for the girls.

The government statement says the freed girls are expected to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday in the capital, Abuja.

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11 p.m.

A Nigerian military official with knowledge of the rescue operation says 83 Chibok schoolgirls are free more than three years after a mass abduction by Boko Haram extremists.

Family members say they are eagerly awaiting a list of names and "our hopes and expectations are high."

The official says the schoolgirls were found near the border town of Banki in Borno state near Cameroon. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make the announcement.

The number could not be independently confirmed by The Associated Press. The schoolgirls remained in military custody late Saturday.

While 21 girls had been freed in the first negotiated release in October, 195 had remained hostage until this weekend.

— Haruna Umar in Maiduguri, Nigeria

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10:40 p.m.

A Nigerian official says at least 62 Chibok schoolgirls have been released more than three years after they were abducted from their boarding school by Boko Haram extremists.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Family members were eagerly awaiting a list of names late Saturday and said "our hopes and expectations are high."

Officials say the girls were freed near the town of Banki along the border with Cameroon. They were in military custody late Saturday.

While 21 girls had been freed in the first negotiated release in October, 195 had remained hostage until this weekend.

— Hilary Uguru in Warri, Nigeria

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9:55 p.m.

A Nigerian official says more of the Chibok schoolgirls have been released three years after their abduction by Boko Haram extremists, though the exact number is not immediately known.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity late Saturday because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Nearly 200 of the schoolgirls had remained captive before this release.

Many of the girls seized from their boarding school were forced into marriages with fighters and became pregnant.

Nigeria's government in October announced the first negotiated release of 21 of the schoolgirls.

At the time, it said another group of 83 girls would be released "very soon."

The government has denied a ransom was paid and that it freed some detained Boko Haram fighters in exchange for the girls.