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Families Of Kidnapped Nigerian Girls Skeptical Of Boko Haram Truce


Nigeria's military says it has a deal for a truce with the Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram, and they say that agreement includes the release of more than 200 missing schoolgirls. Their abduction in April sparked the global social media campaign Bring Back Our Girls, but as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports, there's still no comment from Boko Haram.

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: Nigeria's chief of defense staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, gave few details when he confirmed the agreement between the military and Boko Haram, using its full name in Arabic.


AIR MARSHAL ALEX BADEH: A cease-fire agreement has been precluded between the federal government of Nigeria and Ahlis Sunna Lidda'Awati Wal-Jihad.

QUIST-ARCTON: As part of the truce, the authorities say the kidnapped girls will be released. They were abducted exactly six months ago from their remote boarding school in Chibok in Northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram claimed responsibility and threatened to sell the girls as slaves or make them marry fighters. Senior presidential adviser, Hassan Tukur, was part of the cease-fire talks with Boko Haram negotiators.

HASSAN TUKUR: They looked serious. They assured us that they have the girls and they will release them. Yes, they said as far as we know the Chibok girls are well and they will be handed over.

QUIST-ARCTON: Nigerians are doubtful. They've seen the hopes of the girls desperate families raised and dashed multiple times. Tukur says he's quietly confident about the deal to end the insurgency between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government.

TUKUR: I believe both sides are committed to see to the end of this crisis. When we meet in the next one week, two weeks, the detail will start to emerge.

QUIST-ARCTON: Boko Haram, which means Western education is sinful, has been terrorizing turbulent northeastern Nigeria, since 2009. This year alone, 2,000 people have been killed in the bloody insurgency, as well armed fighters have attacked a string of towns. Holding some territory and declaring an Islamist caliphate. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Accra. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is an award-winning broadcaster from Ghana and is NPR's Africa Correspondent. She describes herself as a "jobbing journalist"—who's often on the hoof, reporting from somewhere.