Islamist militants of the Boko Haram group have released at least 80 schoolgirls from a group of 276 they abducted in north-eastern Nigeria three years ago, officials say.
The BBC’s Stephanie Hegarty in Lagos says that many families in Chibok will be rejoicing at this latest news, but more than 100 of the girls taken have yet to be returned.
Christian pastor Enoch Mark, whose two daughters were among those kidnapped, told Agence France-Presse: “This is good news to us. We have been waiting for this day. We hope the remaining girls will soon be released.” It was unclear whether his daughters had been freed.
A military source told the agency the freed girls would be flown to Borno’s state capital of Maiduguri on Sunday.
After the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok was raided in April 2014, more than 50 girls quickly escaped and Boko Haram then freed another 21 last October, after negotiations with the Red Cross.
Many of the Chibok girls were Christian, but were encouraged to convert to Islam and to marry their kidnappers during their time in captivity.
Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands of other people during its eight-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic caliphate in north-eastern Nigeria.