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British Official: Nigeria President Says Militant Swap Unlikely

Photo by Sean Gallup / Getty Images / Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan

Britain’s top government official on Africa says Nigeria’s president is ruling out the possibility of releasing jailed militants in exchange for more than 270 schoolgirls who are being held by an Islamic extremist group.

Mark Simmonds told journalists in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Wednesday that President Goodluck Jonathan had “made it very clear that there will be no negotiation with Boko Haram that involves a swap of abducted schoolgirls for prisoners.”

Simmonds met with Jonathan in Abuja on Wednesday. Nigerian officials couldn’t immediately be reached for confirmation.

In a video released on Monday, Boko Haram’s leader says he will free the girls only if the government releases jailed members of his group.

Boko Haram has killed more than 1,500 people this year in a campaign of bombings and massacres.

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