The recently-released 21 Chibok school girls, in Boko Haram captivity for two-and-a-half years, are reunited with their parents in an emotion-laden church service in Abuja, Nigeria. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Twenty-one schoolgirls recently released from captivity by the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram were reunited with their families in an emotion-charged church service on Sunday (October 16). There were tears of joy and dancing at the church service in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, as daughters saw their parents and siblings for the first time in some two-and-a-half years. The schoolgirls, now young women, were among over 200 female students taken from their school in Chibok in the remote northeastern Borno state, where Boko Haram has waged a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic state, killing thousands and displacing more than 2 million people. Among the freed women was Rebecca Mallam. Boko Haram released 21 of the women on Thursday (October 13) after the Red Cross and the Swiss government brokered a deal with the group. They were brought from the northeastern city of Maiduguri to the capital Abuja to meet government officials. Authorities said in May one of the missing girls had been found and President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to rescue the others. In the past days, the Nigerian military has been carrying out a large-scale offensive in the Sambisa forest, a stronghold of Boko Haram, which last year pledged loyalty to the Islamic State militant group. Boko Haram controlled a swathe of land around the size of Belgium at the start of 2015, but Nigeria's army, aided by troops from neighboring countries, has recaptured most of the territory. The group still stages suicide bombings in the northeast, as well as in neighboring Niger and Cameroon. Boko Haram published a video in August apparently showing recent footage of dozens of the kidnapped girls and said some had been killed in air strikes. Nigeria's information minister, Lai Mohammed, said plans were already underway to get the remaining students out. The militant group has kidnapped hundreds of men, women and children but the kidnapping of the Chibok girls brought it worldwide attention. In the last few months Buhari has said his government was prepared to negotiate with Boko Haram over the release of the girls.