More than 20 Nigerian “Chibok girls” who were released by the Islamist group Boko Haram in October have rejoined their families for Christmas.

It is the girls’ first return home since they were kidnapped from their school in Chibok in April 2014.

The young women were freed in October after Switzerland and the International Red Cross made a deal with Boko Haram.

Since then, the 21 girls have been held in a secret location for debriefing by the Nigerian government.

One of the girls, Asabe Goni, 22, told Reuters news agency it was a “miracle” that she was home again.

Helping her mother prepare for Christmas, she said she was excited to go to church on Christmas Day.

“I never knew that I would return (home),” she said simply. “I had given up hope of ever going home.”

Of the 276 students kidnapped, 197 are still reportedly missing, and negotiations for their release are underway.

On 24 December, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said the army had driven Boko Haram’s militants from the last camp in their Sambisa forest stronghold.

“The terrorists are on the run and no longer have a place to hide,” Mr Buhari said in a statement.

The army has been engaged for the last few weeks in a major offensive in the forest, a huge former colonial game reserve in north-eastern Borno state.

There has been speculation that some of the Chibok girls are being held in the forest, after it was named by a small number of those who escaped.

Mr Buhari said that efforts to find the remaining girls were being intensified.