The majority of the 110 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by militants in the town of Dapchi last month have been returned, the government says.
A presidential aide said 101 schoolgirls were dropped back in the town in the early hours of Wednesday.
The government said the army allowed the militants through, so “lives were not lost”, but denied paying a ransom.
However, reports suggest at least five girls died during their kidnapping, and that a Christian girl remains captive.
One of the freed girls, in a phone conversation with a relative, said the five had been crushed to death as they were herded into vehicles and driven away. The government did not make any mention of deaths.