Family members of the 82 Chibok schoolgirls who were released last weekend following negotiations between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram militants are still waiting to be reunited with their loved ones, the Associated Press reported.
On Wednesday, community leaders headed from the capital, Abuja, to the town of Chibok holding photos of the newly released girls so relatives can identify them. "They will then organize to bring the parents to Abuja to see their daughters," presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said.
The trek to the Nigerian capital isn't easy for some, though. One father, Abana Ishaya, said he couldn't travel the long distance from his northern Nigerian home without assurance from the government that he would see his daughter. In fact, Ishaya cannot travel to the area without an invite from the government.
"I'm very anxious to meet her so I can celebrate with her and others that were freed, and also to pray for the remaining ones who are still missing so they can be rescued," Ishaya said. "I really want to see my daughter, but I can't come unless with government invitation."
The 82 newly liberated schoolgirls aren't the only ones who have yet to be reunited with loved ones. A group of 21 girls who were released in October have been in government care since. Nigeria's government said they have been receiving medical attention, trauma counseling and rehabilitation.
On Sunday night, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to directly oversee the rehabilitation of the 82 girls and allow the girls to return to school.
Allen Manasseh, a spokesman for the Chibok parents, said he hopes the latest round of releases are managed more efficiently.
"Some parents were airlifted from Chibok and brought to Abuja only for them to discover that it wasn't their daughters," he said, adding it was equally upsetting for the girls who thought they would see their loved ones.
The government "should open those girls up, you know, to their families to interact with, open them up to any other citizens or members of the global community that are ready to assist them," Manasseh said.
It's estimated that 113 girls of the 276 kidnapped remain in captivity under Boko Haram.
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