In April, 276 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped, garnering worldwide attention and inspiring the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. On Friday, a top military official in Nigeria announced that the government had reached a deal with Boko Haram's Islamic extremists, with the hope that the 219 girls who are still missing will be released.
The Associated Press reports that the deal was announced by Air Marshall Alex Badeh, Nigeria's chief of defense staff. The Nigerian government, however, did not issue an official statement, nor did Boko Haram.
Major General Chris Olukolade added to Badeh's announcement that the cease-fire will begin immediately. The deal "could end five years of insurgency that has killed thousands and left hundreds of thousands homeless," the AP notes. Mike Omeri, a government spokesperson, also stated that the government and Boko Haram held discussions about the schoolgirls' potential release this week.
In May, Boko Haram released a video admitting responsibility for the abduction of the schoolgirls, vowing to "sell them on the market, by Allah." Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, has also claimed that he would be willing to swap the schoolgirls in return for the release of imprisoned Boko Haram militants. However, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has stated in the past that he would not perform such a trade.