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The Nigerian girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants six months ago may be released, according to the country’s military.

Friday saw the African nation and the Islamist militants reach a cease-fire agreement that included the release of the more than 200 young girls that were kidnapped when they attacked a school in the north-eastern town of Chibok in Borno state.

Nigeria’s chief of defense staff, Alex Badeh, announced the truce. Boko Haram has not made a public statement.

Air Chief Marshal Badeh revealed the truce at the close of a three-day security meeting between Nigeria and Cameroon. He said Nigerian soldiers would comply with the agreement.

Nigerian presidential aide Hassan Tukur told BBC Focus on Africa that the agreement was sealed after a month of negotiations, mediated by Chad.

“They’ve assured us they have the girls and they will release them,” he said.

“I am cautiously optimistic.”

Arrangements for the release of the girls will be finalized at another meeting next week in Chad’s capital, Ndjamena.

But given the Nigerian government’s track record, which includes lying about rescuing the kidnapped girls in the early days after their disappearance, many are skeptical.

From Buzzfeed:

“…Some experts questioned the credibility of the officials’ claims, in part because news of the agreement comes as President Jonathan prepares to launch a re-election bid. Announcing the return of the girls, whose abduction inspired the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, could help Jonathan’s electoral aspirations — even if the claim turns out not to be entirely true.

In particular, experts questioned the credibility of Danladi Ahmadu, who the government said was Boko Haram’s representative in the talks.

“I have never heard of Ahmadu, and if Boko Haram wanted to declare a ceasefire it would come from the group’s leader Abubakar Shekau,” Shehu Sani, a Boko Haram expert who has negotiated with the group before on behalf of the government, told AFP.

We’ll keep you updated with the latest.


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