Boko Haram Kidnapping: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan Cancels Visit to Chibok

 
on May 16 2014 6:31 AM
Goodluck Jonathan
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan reacts during a meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Power (PTFP) in Abuja on April 22, 2013 REUTERS

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan cancelled a visit to the town of Chibok, where nearly 300 schoolgirls were kidnapped by the Islamist group Boko Haram in April, citing security concerns, reports said citing a senior government official.

Jonathan will instead fly from the Nigerian capital of Abuja to Paris for a regional summit convened by French President Francois Hollande to discuss the Boko Haram problem and wider sub-Saharan Africa security issues, the source told Reuters. West African leaders from Benin, Cameron, Niger and Chad are also expected to visit Paris for the summit alongside British, American and European Union representatives. 

A statement said the delegates will "discuss fresh strategies for dealing with the security threat posed by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in west and Central Africa."

Earlier this week, the Islamist insurgent group demanded the release of Boko Haram members imprisoned by the government in return for the release of the girls. However, UK's Africa Minister Mark Simmonds has said that Jonathan "made it very clear that there will be no negotiation" with the terrorist group regarding a prisoner swap.
 

The kidnap of the girls has ignited an international reaction, which has seen the U.S., the UK and France offering technical and intelligence expertise to the Nigerian government while Israel deployed a counter-terrorism team to assist in the rescue effort.

Boko Haram insurgents want to convert Nigeria into a strict sharia state and over 1,500 people have been killed in attacks perpetrated by the group this year alone.

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