Twenty-one Chibok schoolgirls, who were freed after being kidnapped by the Islamist group Boko Haram for two-and-a-half years, reunited with their families on Sunday (16 October). The girls were hugged by their parents in an emotional reunion.

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria's Minister of Information and culture, said: "We can all see the joy and emotions of the parents." He added that they will not rest and continue talks with the Islamists until all the girls have been released. "Very soon, another batch, bigger than this would be released."

Nigerian president's spokesperson, Garba Shehu, told AFP news agency: "The Mamman Nur faction of the Boko Haram has indicated its willingness to negotiate the release of more Chibok girls in their custody. The group claims that it has 83 more girls to release on negotiation."

Meanwhile, it is not yet clear how the recent release was negotiated but conflicting reports suggested that the girls were exchanged for four detained Boko Haram commanders. However, Nigerian authorities have denied such reports.

According to Associated Press, a "large ransom" was paid by the Swiss government on behalf of Nigeria.

On Thursday, the girls were released and flown to Abuja but according to AP, it took a few days for their parents to arrive. Most of them arrived on Sunday.

Nearly 300 girls were kidnapped in April 2014, drawing attention to the Boko Haram insurgency inundating the area. Many escaped few hours after the kidnapping by jumping off lorries and running to nearby bushes but after last week's release, 197 still remain captive.

Chibok girls
Some of the 21 Chibok school girls released are seen during a meeting with Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja, Nigeria, October 13, 2016 Sunday Aghaeze/Special Assistant to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari/Handout via REUTERS