The militant Boko Haram group have reported released 82 schoolgirls out of a group of more than 200.
The militant group kidnapped the girls from the northeastern town of Chibok in April 2014. According to Nigerian authorities, the almost seven dozen girls were returned in exchange for prisoners on Saturday.
Switzerland and the Red Cross mediated to secure the girls' return, through "lengthy negotiations," an official stated on social media. The number of prisoners released to Boko Haram, in the exchange for the girls, remain unknown.
According to a military source, the girls were being hosted near the Cameroon border, where they would undergo medical examinations before being transported to Maiduguri. From there, they will be taken to Abuja to meet with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
Last October Boko Haram released over 20 girls in a deal brokered by the Red Cross. Additionally, others have escaped or have been rescued. Prior to the 82 girls being released, it was believed that approximately 195 girls were still being held captive by the militants.
Last month the president, who promised to defeat the militant group in his 2015 campaign, stated that the government was in talks to secure the release of the remaining girls.
Boko Haram has, over the years, kidnapped thousands of adults and children; the Chibok girls being the most high profile of the lot. The group has reportedly killed more than 20,000 people and displaced more than 2 million in their bid to create an Islamic caliphate in the northeast region of Nigeria. Although the army has reclaimed portions of that territory, parts of the region – particularly the Borno state – remain vulnerable to the militants.