Boko Haram abduction triggered worldwide prot
Boko Haram abduction triggered worldwide protReuters

Nigeria's military on Tuesday said that some of the schoolgirls abducted in April by the Islamist Boko Haram group had been freed, but later retracted its statement, according to the BBC.

Army spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade earlier told the BBC there was an ongoing exercise to release the schoolgirls taken from the city Chibok and that some of them were safe in a military barracks.

He later called back to retract his statement, saying the authorities were trying to confirm the identities of the girls who are in the custody of the army, but they did not come from Chibok.

Back in April, nearly 300 schoolgirls were abducted from a school by Boko Haram in a mass kidnapping which triggered international outcry.

According to a presidential committee investigating the abductions there were 395 students at the school at the time. 119 managed to avoid capture, while another 57 escaped in the first few of days of their abduction. 219 girls are still believed to be held by the group; a video released by the Islamists soon after showed them converting to Islam, presumably under duress.

Protests were organized under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, calling on the authorities to do more to free the girls, who had gone to the school in Chibok from surrounding areas to take their final year exams.

In recent days there have been unconfirmed reports that the Nigerian government has been negotiating a deal with Boko Haram to exchange the abducted girls for imprisoned Islamist fighters, according to the BBC.

Nigeria has been hit by a wave of terrorist attacks, most of which have been carried out by Boko Haram. Targets have included sports venues and schools teaching a secular curriculum.

Many women and children - including teenage girls - have been taken hostage by the group, which has carried out raids on schools and colleges, seeing them as a symbol of Western culture.