A Nigerien soldier walks out of a house that residents say a Boko Haram militant had forcefully seized and occupied in Damasak. Photograph:( Reuters )
Nigeria's government is in talks with Islamist militant group Boko Haram about a possible ceasefire and the talks have gone on for some time, the information minister said on Sunday.
"Unknown to many, we have been in wider cessation-of-hostility talks with the insurgents for some time now," said Lai Mohammed in a statement emailed to Reuters about the background to the release on Wednesday of more than 100 schoolgirls that the group abducted last month.
Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari, has been meeting more than 100 girls after their dramatic release this week by Boko Haram, a month after they were abducted from their boarding school dormitories in the town of Dapchi in the northeast.
Earlier Buhari's government said it would pursue negotiations with — rather than a military offensive against — Boko Haram to try to secure the girls' freedom. This shift in policy comes a year before key elections in Nigeria and public opinion is crucial, though Buhari has not indicated whether he will seek a second term.
The schoolgirls kidnapped by the Boko Haram jihadist group in Dapchi, northeastern Nigeria, on February 19 and released this week were reunited with their families on Sunday, an AFP journalist saw.
The 105 girls arrived at around 2:30 pm local time (1330 GMT) aboard five buses escorted by the Nigerian army to Dapchi, in Yobe state, where they were greeted by their parents after spending three days with the authorities in the national capital Abuja.
(With inputs from agencies)