The government of Nigeria has released information about three failed attempts to negotiate for the release of the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram.
Officials revealed on Friday that the government and Boko Haram have been in talks since July 2015 to free the girls, who were taken two and a half years ago from a school in Chibok, the New York Times reports.
In the first instance, negotiations fell through even after President Muhammadu Buhari had agreed to free several imprisoned Boko Haram fighters. According to a government statement, the group had issued new demands at the last minute, including the release of some of their fighters arrested in connection with major terror actions.
The second time, negotiations were derailed after members of Boko Haram’s negotiating team were killed in combat. Next, in December 2015, another attempt failed because of “the varying demands by the group,” the statement said.
The Nigerian government appears to have released the information in response to criticism for not rescuing the girls. Activists had been protesting the government’s failure to keep them informed about any supposed attempts, and on Friday, the advocacy group Bring Back Our Girls said it hopes the new information “signals a period of continuous feedback.”
“Every day we expect that is the day our Chibok girls will come back. And if they are not back, we expect the government to come out and tell us what they are doing,” Aisha Yesufu, chairperson of the strategic committee of Bring Back Our Girls, told the Times.