Want to exchange 300 kidnapped girls for jailed members in Nigeria

Abuja : Former Boko Haram negotiator, Shehu Sani has said the group plans to exchange the 300 kidnapped schoolgirls for its “comrades” in jails in Nigeria, media reported Friday.

Sani allegedly said that nearly 300 schoolgirls kidnapped last month in the country by Islamist militants could be released in exchange for its jailed comrades, the Nigerian Tribune reported. He believed the video, in which Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau threatened to sell the girls as slaves, showed he was planning to use them as “bargaining chips”.  Sani said he believed the footage, released Monday, was an attempt to persuade the Nigerian government to release the Islamist militant prisoners.

US TEAM ARRIVES : Meanwhile, US experts arrived in Nigeria to help rescue more than 200 schoolgirls being held hostage by Boko Haram Islamists, an embassy spokeswoman said, reports AFP. “They are here…the team is on the ground,” Rhonda Ferguson-Augustus told AFP, without specifying the precise make-up of the group.

US officials have previously said Washington would send military personnel as well as specialists from the Justice Department and the FBI. Britain, France and China have also offered varying levels of assistance, including planning and coordination specialists as well intelligence and satellite imagery. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Nigeria’s capital Abuja today, President Goodluck Jonathan restated that his country was “totally committed to getting these girls back.” Nigeria’s initial response to the April 14 mass abduction in the northeastern town of Chibok was widely criticised, and for several days Jonathan said very little about the shocking attack. But this week outrage over the girls plight has spread across the world, helped by a growing social media campaign with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.

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