More than 200 missing schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram may be released as part of an immediate cease-fire agreement with Nigerian officials, the government said Friday.
"The insurgents have assured the government that all those in their captivity, including the missing Chibok girls, are well and alive," Mike Omeri, the government spokesman, said in a statement. "They have also promised to release them without attaching any condition."
Officials said the girls could be freed next week.
Omeri said talks with the insurgents focused on ending violence in northeastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram is based, and releasing other captives held by the group, in addition to the schoolgirls. "The terrorists indicated their willingness to discuss and resolve all associated issues during the discussion."
Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden," kidnapped 276 girls in Chibok in April, according to the Nigerian government, which said that several dozen had subsequently escaped.
Nigerian presidential aide Hassan Tukur told CNN, "We have agreed on the release of the Chibok schoolgirls, and we expect to conclude on that at our next meeting with the group's representative next week in Chad."
The girls' abduction has drawn global attention, including an international social media campaign — #BringBackOurGirls — that has pushed for their release. First lady Michelle Obama was among those participating in the effort.