There were indications at the weekend that the Nigerian federal government may have reached a ceasefire deal with Boko Haram militants that includes the release of more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls, Agence France-Presse reported.
The deal between the government and the Islamist terror group was confirmed by senior government official, Mike Omeri, Nigerian state broadcaster NTA said Friday.
A ceasefire agreement has been concluded “between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (Boko Haram),” Chief of Defense Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh said, according to AFP.
Hassan Tukur, President Goodluck Jonathan’s principal secretary, told AFP that the agreement includes an end to hostilities along with the release of 219 girls held captive since April.
CNN could not independently confirm the report.
The terrorist group abducted an estimated 276 girls in April from a boarding school in Chibok in northeastern Nigeria. Dozens escaped, but more than 200 are still missing.
A source involved in the talks told CNN last month that Nigerian government officials and the International Committee of the Red Cross had discussions with Boko Haram about swapping imprisoned members of the group for the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls. It’s unclear, however, whether the deal includes a prisoner swap.
The name “Boko Haram” translates to “Western education is sin” in the local Hausa language. The militant group is trying to impose strict Sharia law across Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa.