Boko Haram Offers to Swap Kidnapped Girls for Detainees

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -

Nigeria’s Boko Haram terrorists are offering to free more than 200 young women and girls kidnapped from a boarding school in the town of Chibok in exchange for the release of terrorists leaders held by the government, a human rights activist has told The Associated Press.

The activist said Boko Haram’s current offer is limited to the girls from the school in northeastern Nigeria whose mass abduction in April 2014 ignited worldwide outrage and a campaign to “Bring Back Our Girls” that stretched to the White House.

The new initiative reopens an offer made last year to the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan to release the 219 students in exchange for 16 Boko Haram detainees, the activist said. Fred Eno, an apolitical Nigerian who has been negotiating with Boko Haram for more than a year, told the AP that “another window of opportunity opened” in the last few days, though he could not discuss details.

He said the recent slew of Boko Haram bloodletting — some 350 people killed in the past nine days — is consistent with past ratcheting up of violence as the terrorists seek a stronger negotiating position.