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Cautious optimism over kidnapped girls

Published:Saturday | October 18, 2014 | 12:44 PM


There's no dancing in the streets, but people in the hometown of more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls are cautiously optimistic about news of a ceasefire with the Islamic extremists who abducted their daughters six months ago.

"We don't know how true it is until we prove it," said Bana Lawan, chairman of Chibok Local Government Area. "We will know the negotiations were successful when we see the girls physically. And then we will know it is true. And then we will celebrate."

Community leader Pogu Bitrus says "People rejoiced, but with caution."

Both men said residents have been disappointed too many times in the past by reports of progress by Nigeria's government and military that later proved to be false. That is why they are sceptical of the army's announcement last Friday that Boko Haram extremists have agreed to an immediate ceasefire.

Some reports said the truce includes an agreement to free the girls missing from Chibok town.

There was no immediate word from Boko Haram, which limits its public engagement to video announcements by its leader, Abubakar Shekau.