Nigeria: We've Got Deal to Free Kidnapped Girls
No one's sure yet whether alleged ceasefire includes prisoner swap
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2014 1:32 PM CDT
In this May 19, 2014, file photo, Martha Mark, mother of kidnapped schoolgirl Monica Mark, cries as she display her photo in the family house in Chibok, Nigeria.   (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba,File)

(Newser) – A rep for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says the country has reached a ceasefire deal with extremist group Boko Haram that secures the release of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped in April, CNN reports. "[Boko Haram negotiators] assured that the schoolgirls and all other people in their captivity are all alive and well," a spokesman said today, according to the AP. What's still unclear is whether—if the deal really goes through—the girls are being exchanged for militant prisoners. Nigerian authorities had originally said they wouldn't make such a deal, then seemed to switch course; rumors had been flying up until recently about ongoing negotiations regarding the possibility.

Skeptics still aren't convinced, Yahoo News reports. They cite previous unkept promises, disbelief that the Boko Haram rep making the negotiations is credible, and the fact that it's widely believed Jonathan will announce his re-election bid soon—meaning optimistic news like this could help his campaign. Boko Haram has been bombarding Nigeria with its terror tactics—including kidnapping, bombing, and the killing of political leaders—in an effort to force strict Sharia law upon the country's people, notes CNN.