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21 Nigerian girls held captive by Boko Haram were reunited with their families


In 2014, nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls were abducted by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram. Those that didn't escape were told to either join the militants or become slaves.

On Sunday, 21 of the Chibok girls that chose slavery were reunited with their families in Abuja, Nigeria. It's the first negotiated release of prisoners organized by the government and Boko Haram. 

The girls were released Thursday, but it took days for the parents to arrive.

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WATCH  | Here's the scene of the happy families reuniting. You might not understand the words being spoken. You won't need to.

I never expected I will see my daughter again and I pray that those girls still left behind, that God will bring them out safely.
Mother of one of the released girls

Some of the girls were "emaciated," Chibok elader Tsambido Abanaa told the Associated Press. The girls are getting medical attention and trauma counseling. 

Traded for Boko Haram commanders

It's not exactly clear how the girls were freed. Military officials said they were exchanged for Boko Haram commanders. The New York Times reported that Switzerland and the Red Cross brokered negotiations. 

The girls said a Red Cross vehicle showed up in the forest where they were held, shook hands with militants and left. Some of the girls told they were leaving, were driven out for a few hours, then walked the rest of the way to a border town.

Nigeria Buhari.jpg
The President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari attends a news conference with German Chancellor Angela after talks at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Oct. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Officials say they expect more of the girls to be released soon, the Times reports. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (pictured) made finding and releasing the girls a campaign promise.

People's children aren't money. People's children are not clothes you wear to campaign. People's children are their pride.
Muta Abana

Muta Abana, the father of one of the released girls, said the entire incident has been overly politicized.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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