UK & World News
Schoolgirl Kidnap: Nigeria 'Won't Pay Ransom'
The Nigerian government will not pay to secure the release of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamist militants a month ago, a special adviser to the country's president told Sky News.
Doctor Reuben Abati told Special Correspondent Alex Crawford there are lines they will not cross in the hunt for the girls, who were taken from a boarding school in the north of the country.
Speaking after it was revealed authorities had made indirect contact with Boko Haram, Dr Abati said: "The government of Nigeria has no intention to pay a ransom or to buy the girls, because the sale of human beings is a crime against humanity.
"The determination of the government is to get the girls and to ensure that the impunity that has brought this about is checked and punished."
Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau has threatened to sell the girls "at the market" and some are believed to have already been taken out of the country.
The search for the girls remains centred on the huge Sambisa forest, which is three times the size of Wales.
Intelligence sources have told Sky News that Nigeria's neighbours - Chad, Cameroon and Niger - are providing satellite imagery to help find the teenagers.
Sky News sources have also learned the militants are likely to have laid booby traps and landmines to stop the girls being found.
Israel has become the latest country to offer to help the search effort. Experts from Britain, France and the US are already in the country.
French President Francois Hollande has offered to host a summit in Paris this week involving Nigeria and its neighbours.
Two divisions of Nigeria's army have been sent to Borno and the country's president, Goodluck Jonathan, said this, combined with the international help, made him optimistic of finding the girls.
But there has been further criticism of the government's response to the kidnapping.
Former vice president Atiku Abubakar told Sky News: "This is a clear case of mismanagement of a small group of bandits who have been allowed to really grow into a monstrous terrorist organisation that we now have."
Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is forbidden", has been waging an insurgency in Nigeria for the last five years.
The group has killed more than 1,500 people this year alone.