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ICC Note:

We rejoice with the Chibok community as 21 of the families reunite with their daughters.  We pray for the other young women who are still in the hands of Boko Haram and for their safe return. The 21 who have been released will face many hardships as they reintegrate into their community and will need continued support and prayer.

10/18/2016 Nigeria ((BBC) –  Twenty-one schoolgirls who had been kidnapped by the Islamist group Boko Haram in the Nigerian town of Chibok have been reunited with their families.

In an emotional ceremony in the capital Abuja, one of the girls said they had survived for 40 days without food and narrowly escaped death at least once.

It is unclear how the release was negotiated, but an official says talks are under way to free some more girls.

Of the 276 students kidnapped in April 2014, 197 are still missing.

One of the girls freed said during a Christian ceremony in Abuja: “I was… [in] the woods when the plane dropped a bomb near me but I wasn’t hurt.

“We had no food for one month and 10 days but we did not die. We thank God,” she added, speaking in the local Hausa language.

How were the schoolgirls released?

Chibok abductions: What we know

The town that lost its girls

Many of the kidnapped students were Christian but had been forcibly converted to Islam during captivity.

Another girl said: “We never imagined that we would see this day but, with the help of God, we were able to come out of enslavement.”

Excited relatives were waiting to be reunited with the girls, who were released last Thursday.

One parent said: “We thank God. I never thought I was going to see my daughter again but here she is… Those who are still out there – may God bring them back to be reunited with their parents.”

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