Nigerian President Reportedly Backed Out of Deal to Trade Prisoners for Kidnapped Girls

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Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan reportedly backed out of a deal over the weekend that would have freed Boko Haram prisoners in exchange for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls being held hostage by the militant group. The deal, reportedly the result of secret negotiations between the two parties, comes as military officials in the country claim that they know the location of the schoolgirls, but can't tell anyone or send in military forces to rescue them. 

The report comes from CBS, who note that it's "unclear" why Jonathan would have pulled out of such a deal, given the immense pressure on his government and on him personally to bring the girls back to their families safely. 

Nigeria's government has presented a confused stance on negotiations with Boko Haram. A government minister said all options were on the table to find and free the girls nabbed in a brazen raid on their school in the village of Chibok, but Jonathan himself later told British officials there would be no negotiations with terrorists.

Meanwhile, Nigerian Air Marshal Alex Badeh said on Monday that "the good news for the parents of the girls is that we know where they are, but we cannot tell you." He added that the military wouldn't send troops in to force the release of the girls: "We want our girls back. I can tell you we can do it. Our military can do it. But where they are held, can we go with force?"

As the Los Angeles Times noted, the government has yet to offer any information on how they plan to rescue the kidnapped girls, if both negotiation and military force are off the table. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.