As the Dapchi schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram were finally reuniting with their families, Nigeria revealed it had begun ceasefire talks with the notorious jihadists.

The talks began months ago, according to officials.

But, to those desperate for a breakthrough in the bloody insurgency, they also caution that divisions among the militants may well hamper progress toward peace and analysts say similar initiatives have foundered in the past.

“Government is ever ready to accept the unconditional laying down of arms by any member of the Boko Haram group who show strong commitment,” President Muhammadu Buhari said on Friday when he met the schoolgirls in Abuja, the national capital.

“We are ready to rehabilitate and integrate such repented members into the larger society,” said Buhari. “This country has suffered enough of hostilities.”

A total of 111 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram from the northeastern town of Dapchi on February 19 in the largest mass kidnapping since 2014 when over 200 schoolgirls were taken from Chibok.

In a scene that shocked many Nigerians, the jihadists returned to the town in an unobstructed convoy, flying the black Boko Haram flag, to drop off most of the girls.

Six girls are still missing, including one who was held back for refusing to renounce Christianity. The five others are believed to have died in the initial stages of the kidnapping.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed said that a week-long ceasefire was declared on March 19 as part of “intense back channel” negotiations to allow Boko Haram to return the hostages.

The Nigerian government has repeatedly denied paying a ransom or releasing imprisoned Boko Haram fighters in exchange for the schoolgirls.

“The insurgents’ only condition was their demands for a cessation of hostilities and a temporary ceasefire to enable them to return the girls to the point they picked them up,” explained Lawal Daura, a senior security official, on Friday.

The talks with Boko Haram explored the “permanent, possible cessation of hostilities” and the “possibility of granting amnesty to repentant insurgents,” Daura said.

But he warned that achieving success would be “problematic” since the group is splintered into rival camps.

It’s not the first time Nigeria has talked about a ceasefire with Boko Haram.

In 2014, former president Goodluck Jonathan’s government claimed it had brokered a deal with the militants, though Boko Haram attacks continued quickly soon after.

The talks began months ago, according to officials.

But, to those desperate for a breakthrough in the bloody insurgency, they also caution that divisions among the militants may well hamper progress toward peace and analysts say similar initiatives have foundered in the past.

“Government is ever ready to accept the unconditional laying down of arms by any member of the Boko Haram group who show strong commitment,” President Muhammadu Buhari said on Friday when he met the schoolgirls in Abuja, the national capital.

“We are ready to rehabilitate and integrate such repented members into the larger society,” said Buhari. “This country has suffered enough of hostilities.”

A total of 111 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram from the northeastern town of Dapchi on February 19 in the largest mass kidnapping since 2014 when over 200 schoolgirls were taken from Chibok.

In a scene that shocked many Nigerians, the jihadists returned to the town in an unobstructed convoy, flying the black Boko Haram flag, to drop off most of the girls.

Six girls are still missing, including one who was held back for refusing to renounce Christianity. The five others are believed to have died in the initial stages of the kidnapping.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed said that a week-long ceasefire was declared on March 19 as part of “intense back channel” negotiations to allow Boko Haram to return the hostages.

The Nigerian government has repeatedly denied paying a ransom or releasing imprisoned Boko Haram fighters in exchange for the schoolgirls.

“The insurgents’ only condition was their demands for a cessation of hostilities and a temporary ceasefire to enable them to return the girls to the point they picked them up,” explained Lawal Daura, a senior security official, on Friday.

The talks with Boko Haram explored the “permanent, possible cessation of hostilities” and the “possibility of granting amnesty to repentant insurgents,” Daura said.

But he warned that achieving success would be “problematic” since the group is splintered into rival camps.

It’s not the first time Nigeria has talked about a ceasefire with Boko Haram.

In 2014, former president Goodluck Jonathan’s government claimed it had brokered a deal with the militants, though Boko Haram attacks continued quickly soon after.