21 girls kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria have been released, according to government officials.
A spokesperson for President Muhammadu Buhari said the Chibok girls, who were taken by the group in 2014, were released by the group earlier today.
The release was reportedly “the outcome of negotiations between the administration and Islamist militants”.
It is believed they’re now safe in the city of Maidaguri, roughly 130km away from the site of their abduction.
Dozens of the 276 students are still missing, and are believed to still be in Boko Haram’s grasp within the Simbisa Forest.
Reports from as many as 57 girls who have previously fled their captors in the forest have been grim. It is believed many have been involved in sex slavery, or as fighters for the radical group.
Last year, Nigerian military forces disbanded several Boko Haram camps in the forest and rescued around 300 women, but the Chibok girls weren’t among that number.
It was the plight of these young women that inspired the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, which was adopted by Malala Yousafzai and Michelle Obama, and eventually became one of the largest social media movements of all time.
This latest development has made that message a reality for nearly two-dozen victims of unimaginable hardships.