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Nigeria Ceasefire Deal Could 'Bring Back Our Girls'

10-17-2014

The families of the more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian girls aren't dancing in the streets of their hometown yet after hearing of the ceasefire agreement between Nigeria and Boko Haram.

The deal was announced Friday by Nigerian leaders who said the release of the girls was also negotiated.

"We don't know how true it is until we prove it," said Bana Lawan, chairman of Chibok Local Government Area. "We will know the negotiations were successful when we see the girls physically. And then we will know it is true. And then we will celebrate."

Community leader Pogu Bitrus says "people rejoiced, but with caution."

Both men said residents have been disappointed too many times in the past by reports of progress by Nigeria's government and military that later proved to be false. That is why they are skeptical of the army's announcement Friday that Boko Haram extremists have agreed to an immediate cease-fire.

Nigerian leaders say they, too, are cautiously optimistic.

"They've assured us they have the girls and they will release them. I am cautiously optimistic," Nigerian presidential aid Hassan Tukur told the BBC.

Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group, kidnapped the girls back in April as part of their assault on the once predominantly Christian African nation.

The kidnappings drew international outrage but despite the outcry - the group didn't release the girls. However, if the cease fire holds, the group is supposed to release the girls.

Nigeria's government received world-wide criticism for how it handled the crisis and was not able to rescue the girls.

Upon hearing the news Friday, parents and other members of the "Bring Back Our Girls campaign" are hoping for the best, "We are monitoring the news with huge expectations," it tweeted.

Nigeria's Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, reportedly ordered  his troops to immediately comply with the agreement.

Chad has been mediating between Nigeria and Boko Haram for a month to see the girls released and a ceasefire take place. Boko Haram has been demanding the release of detained extremists in exchange for the girls. No word on whether or not that is part of the deal.

Sources: Associated Press, BBC

 

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