A team of doctors in Nigeria have successfully separated a set of conjoined twins.

The doctors spent 13 hours performing complex surgery to separate Goodness and Mercy Martins at the National Hospital Abuja. The surgery involved 78 doctors working in two groups.

Goodness and Mercy Martins were born on 13th of August at the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi Nasarawa state, through a caesarean session. Their unemployed mother had no idea she was expecting twins and she was even more shocked when they came out joined at the chest and abdomen

Lead surgeon Emmanuel Ameh told the BBC the operation to separate Goodness and Mercy Martins at the chest and abdomen took place in November and the two sisters were now well enough to go home.

He said the operation, which cost about $55,000, was complicated. But the medics at National Hospital Abuja did not charge for their work because the twins’ parents – Michael Edeh and Maria Onya Martins – could not afford the medical bills. They rely on Mr Martins’ salary as a painter to get by.

Speaking at the formal presentation of the separated twins on Tuesday,  7 in Abuja, ahead of their discharge from National Hospital on Wednesday, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, attributed the successful outcome of the surgery to the teamwork and administrative support the experts at the hospital received.