Nigeria ex-president Obasanjo holds talks to free schoolgirls


LAGOS- Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo has met with people close to Boko Haram in an attempt to broker the release of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the militants, a source close to the talks told AFP.

Reports of the talks emerged Tuesday as Boko Haram was blamed for fresh attacks targeting the security forces, public buildings and a school in its northeastern stronghold.

Cameroon also said it had begun deploying 3,000 extra troops to buttress its border with Nigeria against the threat posed by marauding militants.

On Monday evening, Nigeria’s chief of defence staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, said the 223 girls still missing had been located but cast doubt on the prospect of any rescue by force.

The United States however expressed scepticism that the girls had even been located by Nigeria, stating that it had no “independent information” on the matter.

US State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki told journalists in Washington that “for the girls’ safety and wellbeing, we certainly would not discuss publicly” having found them, even if the reports were true.

Washington has deployed surveillance drones, spy planes and about 30 civilian and military specialists to support Nigeria’s security forces in the search.

SOURCE: AFP

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