(Reuters) – Nigeria aims to have secured the release of 200 girls kidnapped by Islamist Boko Haram militants by Tuesday, a senior source at the presidency told Reuters on Saturday, although he declined to comment on where the transfer would take place.
“I can confirm that FG (the federal government) is working hard to meet its own part of the agreement so that the release of the abductees can by effected either on Monday or latest Tuesday next week,” the source told Reuters by telephone.
The head of Nigeria’s military, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, announced on Friday that authorities had reached a deal with Boko Haram for a ceasefire that would enable the release of the girls, who were kidnapped while taking exams in a secondary school from the remote northeastern town of Chibok in April.
Officials at the presidency and the military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Boko Haram, which conveys messages in videotaped speeches by a man claiming to be its leader, Abubakar Shekau, has also not yet commented on the ceasefire.
Some Nigerians are likely to greet claims of a ceasefire with scepticism after five years of violence. Since the girls’ abduction, Nigeria’s military has twice claimed to have rescued some or all of the girls, only to back-track hours later.
Several rounds of negotiations with Boko Haram have been attempted in recent years but they have never achieved a peace deal, partly because the group has several different factions.
The group, whose name translates roughly as “Western education is sinful” has killed thousands of people in its struggle to carve an Islamic state out of religiously mixed Nigeria.