Islamist militants have warned the Nigerian parents of the 110 schoolgirls kidnapped last month, most of whom were returned on Wednesday night, not to put their daughters in school again.
The girls arrived in the centre of the town of Dapchi around 2am in a convoy, and descended from the vehicles unharmed.
The extraordinary development brought elation to most of the families but more heartache for the relatives of the six girls still unaccounted for.
According to one of the victims, five of the girls had died during their ordeal and although this could not be independently verified, the Nigerian government confirmed that 104 of the 110 schoolgirls had been freed.
The government denies that it paid a ransom for the girl’s freedom, stating that the girls’ freedom was secured “through back-channel efforts and with the help of some friends of the country and it was unconditional”, Information Minister Lai Mohammed told journalists in the capital, Abuja.
Wednesday’s dramatic events reminded Nigerians of the 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from their school, 100 of whom have never returned home, with some being forced to marry their captors and subsequently giving birth to children fathered by Boko Haram militants.