The Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram has reached a cease fire agreement with the Nigerian government, and the 200 abducted schoolgirls that they’re holding hostage will be released, BBC News is reporting.
According to Voice of America, Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Alex Badeh issued an an order to all of his military commanders, telling them to observe the cease fire. Further, Boko Haram spokesperson Danladi Ahmadu also confirmed to VOA that a cease fire agreement has been reached.
The cease fire was negotiated in secret in Saudia Arabia, with representatives of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigerian Ambassador Hassan Tukur, Chadian President Idriss Deby, and officials from Cameroon.
Boko Haram made international headlines in April of this year, when militants from the organization captured some 270 teenage girls in the northern Nigerian town of Chibok. A few dozen have since escaped, but the terrorist group still holds just over 200 of them. A person claiming to be the leader of Boko Haram had at one point threatened to sell the girls into sex slavery if the Nigerian government didn’t release the Boko Haram militants they had captured and imprisoned. However, as of this post, it appears that didn’t happen. Today, Ahmadu said the girls are “unharmed and in good condition.”
Nigerian presidential aide Hassan Tukur told BBC News that he believes the girls are going to be released.
“They’ve assured us they have the girls and they will release them. I am cautiously optimistic.”
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” has been waging an insurgency against Nigeria’s secular government since 2009, in an effort to transform Nigeria into an Islamic caliphate. Their reign of terror has focused largely on Nigeria’s civilians, particularly Christians (although according to VOA they have even targeted Mosques). In May of this year, the group orchestrated car bomb attacks on a marketplace in Nigeria, killing over 100, according to this Inquisitr report.
The kidnapping of the schoolgirls brought international attention to the terrorist organization, which believes that girls should not be educated, and instead should learn domestic skills or be sold into sexual slavery. Their plight even generated a trend on social media, with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls becoming a worldwide trending topic for several weeks.
As of this post, it is not clear what concessions, if any, the Nigerian government is giving to Boko Haram in exchange for the cease fire and the return of the kidnapped girls.