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Nigeria calls off deal for girls

ABUJA –– A deal for the release of some of the abducted schoolgirls in Nigeria was close to being secured when the Nigerian government called it off, the BBC has learned.

Some of the girls were set to be freed in exchange for imprisoned Islamist militants, reports the BBC’s Will Ross. Boko Haram group snatched more than 200 girls from a school on 14 April.

Nigeria’s government is under pressure to do more to tackle the group and bring about the girls’ release.

Thousands of people have died since Boko Haram began a violent campaign against the Nigerian government in 2009 and in the subsequent security crackdown.

The BBC has learned that officials have held talks with the group to secure the release of the schoolgirls.

An intermediary met Boko Haram leaders earlier this month and visited the location in north-east Nigeria where the girls were being held, says the BBC’s Will Ross in the capital Abuja.

A deal was almost reached to set some of the girls free in exchange for the release of 100 Boko Haram members being held in detention, our correspondent says.

But the government cancelled the planned agreement shortly before the swap was due to take place.

The reasons for the withdrawal are unclear.

It came just after Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan attended a meeting in Paris hosted by President Francois Hollande of France where leaders said they had agreed to a “global and regional action plan” against Boko Haram. (BBC)

Source: (BBC)

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