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Nigeria rejects deal with Boko Haram over kidnapped girls

According to Britain's minister for Africa, Nigeria has rejected a swap with Boko Haram in exchange for a large group of kidnapped schoolgirls. Boko Haram had demanded the release of prisoners in exchange for the girls.

As a group of kidnapped schoolgirls from Nigeria began their second month as captives of Boko Haram on Wednesday, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan rejected the idea of releasing captured Boko Haram members in exchange for the girls' release.

Following talks with Jonathan on Wednesday, Britain's minister for Africa told a press conference in Abuja that there would be no such negotiations.

"He made it very clear that there would be no negotiations with Boko Haram that involved a swap of abducted schoolgirls for prisoners," Mark Simmonds told journalists.

Girls identified in video

Earlier on Wednesday, Nigeria's Vanguard newspaper reported that 77 of the more than 200 girls abducted last month from their school in Chibok, Borno State, had been identified by parents and school officials. Earlier this week, Boko Haram

released a video claiming to show the kidnapped girls

, which was used in the identification.

Boko Haram is an Islamist organization that operates in the northeastern part of Nigeria. The name translates to 'Western education is sin.'

The group has been linked to the deaths of thousands of people in its five-year quest to create an Islamic state in Nigeria.

The group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, said in Monday's video that Boko Haram prisoners could be released in exchange for the kidnapped girls.

Western powers, including the United States and Great Britain, have offered to help Nigeria in the search for the missing girls. Nigeria has accepted a similar offer for air surveillance from Britain.

mz/ipj (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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