LAGOS––Nigeria’s most feared Islamic Jihadist terrorist group Boko Haram has released 13 hostages over the weekend.  The released kidnapped victims include a group of oil explorers and policewomen, that the terror sect held captive for a little over a year and a half.

News of the release was delivered by the Nigerian presidency said on Saturday.

According to sources, the three oil explorers released over the weekend are lecturers from Maiduguri University, in northern Borno state.  The explorers were said to have been kidnapped while searching for oil in July 2017.

Boko Haram ambushed exploration team in an attack that killed at least 69 people, one of the bloodiest assaults of 2017.

10 women were also released. They included police officers and civil servants, who were kidnapped near Maiduguri in June of last year.

Garba Shehu the presidential spokesman said in a statement: “Their release followed a series of negotiations as directed by President Buhari and was facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).”

“All 13 rescued persons are in the custody of the service and are on their way to Abuja with the assistance of the Nigerian Army and the Air Force.”

Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, has been at the center of the Islamist terror insurgency that has devastated Nigeria’s northeast region.

An estimated 20,000 people have been killed in nearly nine years of violence and more than 2.6 million are made refugees and internally displaced persons. The situation has triggered a humanitarian crisis across the Lake Chad region.