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Buhari Willing to Negotiate With Boko Haram for Chibok Girls


FILE - Bring Back Our Girls campaigners gather at a candlelight ceremony in Abuja marking the 500th day since the abduction of girls in Chibok, Nigeria.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari told reporters he is willing to negotiate with the kidnappers of the so-called "Chibok girls," who were taken from their school dormitories in 2014.

In his first "media chat" with reporters since taking office in May, Buhari fielded a range of questions Wednesday, including about the group of more than 200 girls who were taken by members of the militant group Boko Haram from the northeastern town of Chibok last year.

Buhari said if a "credible leader" of Boko Haram could be found, and the location of the girls could be established, his government is prepared to negotiate without preconditions for their return.

Previous negotiations

Previous attempts to negotiate were thwarted when it was found government officials were talking with the wrong people.

While hundreds of Boko Haram captives have been freed in recent months, none of the Chibok girls have been found to be among them.

There are fears that the girls are being used as sex slaves or suicide bombers, as there has been an increase in such attacks being carried out by young women in Nigeria.

Buhari last week said his government had "technically" won the war against Boko Haram and fulfilled his campaign promise to defeat the group by the end of the year.

Suspected attacks

But on Monday, suspected Boko Haram members killed at least 50 people with multiple suicide bombings, grenades and gunfire attacks in and around the city of Maiduguri.

The militant group is attempting to create a hardline Islamic state in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria.

A report last month said Boko Haram has become the deadliest terrorist group in the world, killing more than 6,000 people in 2014, in addition to several thousand more this year.