The 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped six months ago by the Islamic militant group, Boko Haram, may soon be released following a ceasefire deal announced by the government. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (No reporter narration) STORY: Nigeria said on Friday it had agreed to a ceasefire with Islamist Boko Haram militants and reached a deal for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the group six months ago. There was no immediate confirmation from the rebels, who have wreaked five years of havoc in Africa's top oil producer and triggered an international outcry by seizing the girls from the northeast town of Chibok in April. Government spokesman Mike Omeri said the deal covered the release of the captives and Boko Haram had given assurances "that the schoolgirls and all other people in their captivity are all alive and well". Their release would be a huge boost for President Goodluck Jonathan, who faces an election next year and has been pilloried at home and abroad for his slow response to the kidnapping and his inability to quell the violence, the biggest security threat to Africa's biggest economy. Apart from one appearance on a Boko Haram video, the girls have not been seen since the brazen night-time raid on the town near the Cameroon border, although police and a parent said last month that one of the victims had been released. Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates as 'Western education is sinful', has killed thousands of people in its fight to create an Islamic caliphate in the vast scrubland of Nigeria's impoverished northeast.