Boko Haram have thanked Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai for her role in helping mediate a landmark ceasefire deal between the group and the Nigerian army.
Nigerian media announced on Friday that the militant group, which has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of people since 2009, had reached an agreement with the Nigerian army, which would include the release of the estimated 200 schoolgirls abducted earlier this year.
“Malala appeared to our leader [Abubakar Shekau] in a dream and said that kidnapping girls was not the answer,” an unnamed spokesperson said on a video released by the group.
“We will go back to focusing on restricting boys education, because there is less stress in that industry,” he said.
More than 200 schoolgirls were abducted from the northern Nigerian town of Chibok when armed fighters raided the town in April. Around 50 girls were able to escape, but a vast majority disappeared with the fighters into the thick jungles bordering Cameroon. The story prompted worldwide outrage.
A social media campaign, #bringbackourgirls, was started in Nigeria in a bid to pressure the Nigerian government to negotiate with the fighters to return the schoolgirls to their families.
Celebrities including Michelle Obama and Justin Timberlake used the hashtag to garner support.
Boko Haram said that the social media campaign was also a strong motivating factor in formulating the truce.
“Some of the tweets were very touching … [they] brought tears to our eyes,” the spokesperson said.
Editor’s note: This article originally stated that Justin Bieber had participated in the #BringbackOurGirls campaign. It was in fact Justin Timberlake and we have now corrected this error. We apologize to Justin. Both of them.
Abu O’Well is almost an award-winning satirist with the Daily Vox. Read more of his writing here.