NEW: "On the war front, we can say there is peace now," government spokesman says
Nigeria and Boko Haram have agreed to a ceasefire
The deal includes the release of more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls
The agreement was reached Thursday after talks in Chad between the two groups
Nigeria has reached a ceasefire agreement with the Islamist terror group Boko Haram that includes the release of more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls, Nigerian officials said Friday.
The deal came Thursday night after a month of negotiations with representatives of the group, said Hassan Tukur, principal secretary to President Goodluck Jonathan.
“We have agreed on the release of the Chibok schoolgirls, and we expect to conclude on that at our next meeting with the group’s representative next week in Chad,” Tukur said.
Officials provided few details about the release.
Doyin Okupe, a government spokesman, did not specify when the girls would be freed. He said not all would be let go at once, but a “significant number” would be released soon.
“A batch of them will be released shortly, and this will be followed by further actions from Boko Haram,” he said. “It is a process. … It is not a question of hours and days.”
The Nigerian government consented to some demands by Boko Haram, but Okupe declined to provide details.
The government, he said, “is looking beyond the girls. We want to end the insurgency in this country.”
“On the war front,” he added, “we can say there is peace now.”
The agreement was first reported by Agence France-Presse.
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.