82 Chibok Girls Reunited With Their Families After More Than 3 Years Maggie Penman – May 20, 2017 6:13 PM ET


The recently released Chibok girls reunited with their families amidst laughter and tears in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. Still, 113 girls are being held by Boko Haram militants.

Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

After more than three years in captivity, 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls have been reunited with their families amid tears, laughter, music and dancing. On an emotional day in the Nigerian capital city, Abuja, the young women and their parents wept as they embraced.

Some groups sank to their knees, giving praise and praying.

“Today I thank God, my daughter is alive,” Yahi Bulata told NPR’s Ofeibea Quist-Arcton as he hugged his now 21-year-old daughter, Comfort Bulus Bulata. He said he hoped she would now be able to continue her education. Mothers sang a song of thanks.

Jumping for joy, dancing and singing with delight, Godiya Joshua described it as “Christmas Day and New Year” rolled in one, before being reunited with her eldest child, Esther.

The 276 Chibok schoolgirls were abducted in the dead of night from their dorms by Boko Haram militants in April 2014, prompting international outrage and the Bring Back Our Girls campaign — backed by former first lady Michelle Obama. The girls who were reunited with their families Saturday were part of a recent exchange brokered by the Nigerian government with the help of the government of Switzerland, the Red Cross and other NGOs.

Three young women who’ve escaped are also included in the group. One girl escaped last May and two more escaped or were found last year. An initial group of 21 was released in October and was reunited with their schoolmates Saturday. The young women sang and danced separately and together.

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