Sat, Oct 22, 2016 | updated 01:38 AM IST

Boko Haram commanders freed in exchange of 21 Chibok girls

Updated: Oct 14, 2016 21:53 IST

New York [USA], Oct. 14 (ANI): A number of Boko Haram soldiers have been reportedly released by the Nigerian Government in exchange for the 21 Chibok schoolgirls, who were freed by the terror outfit after holding them captive for two years.

According to sources, "A number of Boko Haram commanders were freed as part of Thursday's release of the girls", reports CNN.

This contrasts Nigerian Government statement in which it said that the girls' release was not a prisoner exchange.

"This was not a swap. It is a release, the product of painstaking negotiations and trust on both sides," Nigerian Information Minister Alhahi Lai Mohammed said yesterday.

The 21 that Boko Haram released Thursday were among the 276 girls and women, ages 16 to 18, that militants herded from bed in the middle of the night at a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria, in April 2014 - a kidnapping that spurred global outrage.

As many as 57 girls escaped almost immediately in 2014, and one was found this spring.

Dozens are still missing and their whereabouts remain a mystery.

The government has also not yet released terms of the arrangement, but said that it came after negotiations brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government. (ANI)