Boko Haram wants exchange of abducted Nigerian girls for its jailed members

Boko Haram former negotiator Shehu Sani on Friday warned against the rescue of the 284 abducted school girls and said that the militant group is planning to exchange the hostages with its jailed comrades.

Last Updated: May 12, 2014, 14:54 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Aatif Iqbal

Abuja: Boko Haram former negotiator Shehu Sani on Friday warned against the rescue of the 284 abducted school girls and said that the militant group is planning to exchange the hostages with its jailed comrades.

Sani further said that the footage which was released by Boko Haram earlier this week threatening to sell the girls as "slaves" was a plan to use them as "bargaining chips". In the video, which went viral on Internet, Boko Haram Leader Abubakar Shekau threatened to sell the girls as `slaves` and said that the abducted girls would be offered to anyone who wishes to take them as wives.

While the footage appalled the captives` families and fresh outrage sparked across the globe, Sani admitted that it was an attempt to persuade the Nigerian government for a deal so that jailed Islamist militants could be released.

“If you look at the fact that these girls have already been in captivity for some three weeks, then it is possible to detect a conciliatory tone in this statement from Shekau – he is not saying he is going to kill the girls,” Sani said.

While the international efforts have gathered pace to free the Nigerian girls with involvements of UK, US and various other world powers, Sani warned that it could be dangerous if it becomes forceful.

The international troops have already arrived in Nigeria to free the hostages and the social media has gained momentum in showing support for bringing the girls back with slogans like #BringBackOurGirls.

Sani said that military efforts to rescue the abducted girls are not going to help, warning that the military action towards rescue can turn very tragic.
“My personal belief is that if we can get clerics from northern Nigeria and members of the insurgent group who have already beenimprisoned together in dialogue, then some channels for negotiation could be opened." he said.
Police has already announced a $3,00,000 prize for information on abducted girls.