ABUJA - The Islamic State-allied faction of Boko Haram which last week freed 21 of more than 200 Chibok girls kidnapped in April 2014 in northeast Nigeria is willing to negotiate the release of 83 more of the girls, the president's spokesman said on Sunday.
Around 220 girls were taken from their school in 2014 in Chibok in northeastern Borno state, where Boko Haram has waged a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic state, killing thousands and displacing more than 2 million people.
A faction of the militant group released 21 of the girls on Thursday after the Red Cross and the Swiss government brokered a deal. They were brought from the northeastern city of Maiduguri to the capital Abuja to meet state officials.
"These 21 released girls are supposed to be tale bearers to tell the Nigerian government that this faction of Boko Haram has 83 more Chibok girls," Garba Shehu, spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
"The faction said it is ready to negotiate if the government is willing to sit down with them," said Shehu, adding that the state is prepared to negotiate with the branch of Boko Haram.