The Negotiators
The Negotiators
Dec 14, 2021
How a Motley Group of Negotiators Freed the Chibok Schoolgirls
Play • 34 min

In 2014, members of the Islamist Boko Haram group abducted around 300 mostly Christian girls from a school in northeastern Nigeria, prompting outrage around the world and triggering an unparalleled social media campaign that included A-list celebrities and world leaders.

Despite global attention, it ended up taking three years to negotiate the girls’ release. Many of the girls had died by then or were forced into marriages with fighters. 

On The Negotiators podcast this week, we hear from Zannah Mustapha, one of the key mediators in the affair. He spent many months building up contacts with the group and winning support from the Nigerian government, which ended up paying ransom money to Boko Haram.

We also hear from Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw from the Wall Street Journal, who published a book about the ordeal called Bring Back Our Girls: The Untold Story of the Global Search for Nigeria’s Missing Schoolgirls. The authors analyze how the social media campaign affected the war against Boko Haram and the efforts to release the girls.

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