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The Nigerian government said it plans to discuss with Boko Haram this coming week the terms for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the militant group in April.

The two sides agreed to a cease-fire on Friday.

Top Nigerian presidential aide Hassan Tukur told VOA’s Hausa news service that the militants have agreed in principle to free the schoolgirls.

Talks on the issue are expected in Chad this coming week.

Turkur said negotiations in the past had not yet “yielded any positive results,” but he is “cautiously optimistic” this time.

There has been no public comment from Boko Haram on the developments.

Boko Haram has terrorized Nigeria for the last five years as it tries to turn northern Nigeria into a conservative Islamic state. Bombings, gun attacks and other acts of violence have killed thousands of civilians and police.

Kidnapped in April

The militants outraged the world when they stormed a school in the remote northeastern village of Chibok, kidnapping about 270 girls in mid-April. Fifty-seven managed to escape, but more than 200 are still being held.

Nigeria’s highest-ranking military official, General Alex Badeh, announced the cease-fire agreement with Boko Haram on Friday. He ordered all of the country’s military chiefs to abide by the deal.

The cease-fire talks were held in Chad and involved Chad’s president, Idriss Deby, and senior officials from Cameroon.

Nigerian President Jonathan has been criticized at home and abroad for the inability of Nigerian troops to stop the the militants. But Tukur said the process has started and that the government will “go the extra mile” to solve the problem of Boko Haram.


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