The White House voiced its opposition Tuesday to any ransom or other concessions in exchange for the release of more than 250 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped last month.

From the Washington Post:

The Obama administration underscored its opposition to any offer of ransom or other concessions to retrieve more than 250 schoolgirls abducted by the terrorist group Boko Haram on Tuesday, even as the United States widened its participation in the international effort to locate and free the girls.

“We, as a matter of policy, deny kidnappers the benefits of their criminal acts, and that includes ransoms or other concessions,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said. He said the Nigerian government is leading the search effort, however, and the United States is merely assisting.

That was a tacit acknowledgment that despite the outpouring of American popular and political support for efforts to free the girls, the United States cannot intervene if Nigeria chooses to pay off the terrorist group or release captured militants in a trade.

The statement from the administration comes after a video surfaced on Monday in which a purported leader of Boko Haram claimed to show some of the kidnapped girls and said they would only be released in exchange for militant prisoners.

While the Nigerian government initially immediately rejected the offer of a prisoner swap, there have been some conflicting statements from other officials who indicated essentially that all options were on the table, as noted in yesterday’s post.

Meanwhile, a special committee has apparently been in contact with “senior leaders” of Boko Haram, according to ABC News.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News this morning, the chairman of the Nigerian president’s Boko Haram “Dialogue Committee” Kabiru Tanimu Turaki confirmed that talks are under way with the senior leadership of Boko Haram.

He would not confirm or deny whether these talks are with the specific individuals holding the kidnapped girls, but would only say they are “senior leaders.”

Kabiru made a distinction between “talking” and “negotiating,” noting that at this point they are not negotiating for the return of Boko Haram prisoners in return for the girls. According to the Nigerian Interior Ministry, there are more than 4,000 Boko Haram members currently detained.

View the ABC News video report below.


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[Featured image: AFP News Agency]