Boko Haram on Wednesday released most of a group of schoolgirls taken hostage in a mass abduction a month ago amid widespread speculation that a ransom had been paid for their freedom.

The 110 school pupils were kidnapped from the north-east town of Dapchi on February 19, in a case with echoes of the Chibok school abduction that sparked the global #bringbackourgirls social media campaign.

The return of the militants yesterday to drop the schoolgirls off unopposed by Nigerian defence forces raised concerns that a cash deal had been struck between the government and terrorists. Ransom deals with terrorist groups are strongly condemned by the international community, which fears incentives encourage…

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