Nigeria: No Deal for Kidnapped Girls
Manned US planes join search
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2014 12:35 AM CDT
Updated May 13, 2014 2:03 AM CDT
Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade, Nigeria's top military spokesman, speaks during a press conference on the abducted school girls in Abuja, Nigeria yesterday.   (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

(Newser) – Nigerian officials say there is no way they are going to make a deal with the militants who have kidnapped hundreds of schoolgirls and offered to free them in return for imprisoned militants. In a video released yesterday, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said the girls would never be released until the militants were freed, but the "swap of innocent citizens with people who have taken arms against the country ... is not on the table," the country's interior minister tells the BBC.

The US is now flying "manned surveillance flights" over Nigeria to search for the 276 girls, American officials tell NBC. The flights are being launched from a US drone base in Niger, though drones are not being used yet, officials say. The US is also helping Nigeria analyze satellite surveillance photos. A State Department official says the US has no reason to question the authenticity of yesterday's video, and intelligence experts are combing it for clues, the New York Times reports. In the video, Shekau appears almost amused by the international attention the mass kidnapping has received and vows to "kidnap even Obama."

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