UK & World News

  • 15 May 2014, 3:35

Nigeria Rejects Prisoners-For-Girls Swap Deal

Nigeria's president has rejected the idea of a swap of Boko Haram prisoners for the schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamist group.

Britain's minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, said Nigeria's leader, Goodluck Jonathan, revealed his decision during talks between the pair in Abuja.

"He made it very clear that there would be no negotiations with Boko Haram that involved a swap of abducted schoolgirls for prisoners," Mr Simmonds said.

Boko Haram is holding more than 250 girls hostage after kidnapping them from a school in Nigeria. UK and US teams are in the country helping the authorities there in their efforts to find the youngsters.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the kidnapping of the girls from their school was an act of "pure evil" as he updated MPs on the support being offered to the Nigerian authorities.

He told the Commons: "Today I can announce we have offered Nigeria further assistance in terms of surveillance aircraft, a military team to embed with the Nigerian army in their HQ and a team to work with US experts to analyse information on the girls' location.

"This was an act of pure evil, the world is coming together not just to condemn it but to do everything we can to help the Nigerians find these young girls."

The news emerged as Sky sources revealed a British-born Boko Haram suspect, named as Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, had been arrested in Sudan.

Sky's Special Correspondent Alex Crawford said: "The Nigerian authorities are saying he could be a fairly significant person.

"He is a British-born Nigerian who served in the Nigerian army from 2001-2006 before he is said to have deserted. He worked in the Nigerian army intelligence wing at that time.

"He was wanted by Nigerian authorities for some time. They put out an international arrest warrant for him a couple of days ago.

"They wanted to question him about two bombings in Nigeria, including one on April 14 - the same night as the kidnapping of the schoolgirls in the north.

"The bombing in the market was seen as a diversion, taking the authorities' attention away from the north while the kidnappings were going on."

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