Source: AOL News
In April Islamist militant group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls at gunpoint in the Nigerian town of Chibok.
This sparked international outrage, and a campaign was begun to “Bring Back Our Girls.” (Video viaChannels Television)
And now, Nigerian military officials say they might have finally reached an agreement with the extremist group for the girls’ release and a ceasefire. (Video via France 24)
Though a caveat: The Nigerian government has said it’s “cautiously optimistic” the girls will be released, but Boko Haram hasn’t commented publicly.
Which is part of the reason for widespread skepticism.
BBC: “The news on the imminent release on the 219 abducted school girls, that’s come from politicians. … The fact that Boko Haram has been on the offensive … it’s left many people … wondering if this is yet another promise from the military that will be broken.”
And consider this: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is up for re-election.
Which is why an unnamed diplomat in Nigeria told The Telegraph, “He needs a boost. … We’re taking this with a little salt.”
Quick background – since 2009 the insurgency group has been fighting for a “version of Islam which makes it ‘haram’, or forbidden, for Muslims to take part in any political or social activity associated with Western society.” Such activity includes what the group perceives as Westernized schooling – which could have been one reason for the April abduction of the schoolgirls. (Video viaThe New York Times)
So to Friday’s news – as CNN points out, there are a lot of unanswered questions.
“Here’s what we don’t know: how many of those girls could be returned because it was widely reported … that many of them had been sold off into slavery or sold as wives.”
Voice of America reports the talks took place in Saudi Arabia – overseen by the president of Chad. And though there are conflicting reports on when the girls could be released, the outlet claims they’ll be handed over Monday in Chad.
However, according to CBC, “Agreements for that release will be finalized in another meeting next week in Chad.”
Again, as of now, there are few specifics on the supposed deal, which reportedly took months to negotiate. But as U.K.’s Channel Five notes, “For the parents of those school children it’s a first sign, a first step they may be reunited with their children.”