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Prisoner Swap for Kidnapped Girls? Militants in Talks

Boko Haram seeks return of 30 commanders: CNN
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2014 3:00 PM CDT
Prisoner Swap for Kidnapped Girls? Militants in Talks
A woman attends a demonstration in Abuja, Nigeria, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped girls of the government secondary school in Chibok.   (AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga)

(Newser) – Boko Haram militants have been meeting with officials to discuss the possible release of some 200 girls kidnapped in April, CNN reports. Talks between two top Boko Haram figures and officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross and Nigeria's government hinge on the possibility of a prisoner swap. An insider tells CNN that 30 Boko Haram commanders named by the group could be released in the exchange, which faces some sticking points. Militants, for instance, wanted to release just 30 girls for the 30 commanders; Nigeria reportedly rejected that plan.

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Some of the Boko Haram commanders in question have been convicted of terror crimes, while others are due for trial, CNN notes. One, Kabiru Sokoto, was convicted in connection with a church bombing on Christmas Day 2011. Meanwhile, negotiators "assured the ICRC and government negotiators that the girls were never raped, were never used as sex slaves, and were never sexually assaulted," the insider says. The militants said they would discuss options with group leaders. (Read more Boko Haram stories.)

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