Report: Nigerian President Backs Out Of Deal To Swap Prisoners For Kidnapped Girls
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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan reportedly reneged on a deal that was secured to swap Boko Haram prisoners for the nearly 300 girls the terror group kidnapped.
CBS News reports that Jonathan backed out of the deal at the last minute after the swap was agreed upon over the weekend.
The terror group kidnapped 276 girls during a raid on their school in the village of Chibok last month.
On Monday, Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Alex Badeh stated that the country’s military knew where the girls were, but an operation to rescue the girls was too risky at this point.
“The good news for the girls is we know where they are but we cannot tell you. We cannot come and tell you military secrets,” Badeh said, according to CBS News.
Badeh also defended the way the Nigerian government has handled the kidnapping.
“Nobody should come and say the Nigerian military does not know what it is doing, we know what we are doing,” he said, CBS News reports. “We can’t go and kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back.”
Last week President Barack Obama said he deployed 80 U.S. military personnel to Chad to help locate the kidnapped girls.
A U.S. military spokesman told The Associated Press that they have begun their mission manning a Predator drone system to help locate the girls. Manned U.S. aircraft also are searching from a base in nearby Niger.
In an interview with “CBS This Morning” last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. would “go and get” the kidnapped girls when they are located.
“We would do everything we could, as President Obama has said, to facilitate, helping them figuring out what is the quickest, easiest, fastest way – lowest risk – to get them out,” Hagel told CBS News.
A Boko Haram video has shown some of the kidnapped girls reciting Quranic verses in Arabic and two of them explaining why they had converted from Christianity to Islam in captivity. Unverified reports have indicated two may have died of snake bites, that some have been forced to marry their abductors and that some may have been taken across borders into Chad and Cameroon.
Boko Haram – the nickname means “Western education is sinful” – believes Western influences have corrupted Nigerian society and want to install an Islamic state under strict Shariah law. Nigeria’s population of 170 million people is divided almost equally between Christians and Muslims.
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