Chibok Schoolgirls: Nigeria “ready” for negotiations with Boko Haram

The missing Chibok schoolgirls held captive by Boko Haram

The government appears to be shifting its earlier position.

The Nigerian government is ready for talks with the extremist group, Boko Haram, for the release of the 276 girls abducted by the group from a school in Chibok, Borno State.

The special duties minister, Tanimu Turaki, was quoted Tuesday by the BBC as saying the government was set for negotiations in bringing the crisis to an end and that “an issue of this nature can be resolved outside of violence”.

In a video released on Monday, Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, said his group would release the girls only in exchange for jailed Boko Haram militants.

His offer was immediately rejected by Nigeria’s Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, who said the group was no position to set conditions for the government.

But Mr. Turaki urged the Islamist group to send in representatives for talks with the government if it was sincere.

Mr. Turaki is the head of a panel set up by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013 to explore ways of negotiating with Boko Haram.

Late Monday, Mike Omeri, the director general of the National Orientation Agency, also said all options remained open for the government in the effort to rescue the girls.

The girls were kidnapped April 14 from their dormitory late at night.

The United States is leading an international effort to help Nigeria rescue the girls.

The US said Monday it has started flying manned surveillance mission in the northeast to gather intelligence about the location of the girls.


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