Celebrations broke out among the South Florida Nigerian community after the Nigerian government announced the release of 82 Chibok girls who were kidnapped three years ago by the extremist group Boko Haram.
"We appeal to all Nigerians.to fully embrace them and provide all necessary support to ensure their reintegration into society", a spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday. Negotiations with the extremist group, mediated by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government, also resulted in the October release of a first group of 21 Chibok girls.
The latest group of freed captives was released in exchange for as many as six suspected militants who were not identified, though some reports say the militants were high-ranking commanders in Boko Haram.
" We owe it to them to press forward until all the girls have regained freedom and Boko Haram is so defeated that it may never again be able to do what it did in Chibok".
Although the Chibok abduction was not the first mass-kidnapping carried out by Boko Haram, it was the only one that attracted global outrage.
Garba Shehu told local Channels TV that 83 girls were supposed to be freed "but one said: 'No, I'm happy where I am".
Numerous girls have managed to escape or been freed since then, but more than 100 are still missing. And the recovery process is expected to be a long one for the girls.
"The programme is tailor-made to meet each girl's specific needs of counselling, to help overcome the trauma endured after being held in captivity for more than three years".
A military source said the girls were now in Banki near the Cameroon border for medical checks before being airlifted to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
The government published the names of the freed girls on Twitter but in Chibok not everyone has access to the social media site.
Though Boko Haram has abducted thousands of people during its eight-year insurgency that has spilled across Nigeria's borders, the Chibok mass kidnapping horrified the world and brought the extremist group worldwide attention.
Testimony from former hostages in the brutal conflict has revealed that Boko Haram forced many women and young girls into marriage, and that rape and sexual violence were commonplace.
We also wish to express our profound happiness and relief as this set of girls re-unite with friends and families. This makes the grand total of Chibok girls released so far to 103.