Nigeria knows location of kidnapped girls

Army not willing to risk rescue

The Nigerian army says it knows the location of the school girls abducted by Boko Haram but that it will not attempt a rescue.

The nation's defence chief Alex Badeh said on 26 May that locating the girls was "good news for the parents" but that the military would not risk "going there with force", adding "We can't kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back."

Badeh would not reveal the location but it is thought to be in a remote Sambisia forest in the north-eastern Borno state, near the border with Chad and Cameroon.

Boko Haram kidnapped the girls from a boarding school in Chibok in north-eastern Nigeria in April and the militants have said they would free the girls in exchange for the release of its prisoners.

The Nigerian government was allegedly close to an agreement with the rebels but the BBC reported that the deal was called off following the return of Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan from an international security summit in Paris on 17 May.

The US, the UK, China and France are among the countries sending experts and equipment to Nigeria in efforts to help to save the girls. Some 80 US troops have recently arrived and surveillance drones are currently scanning the vast Sambisia forest, where the girls were reportedly last sighted.

Since their abduction on 14 April, the girls' plight has captured the world's attention and led to Twitter's globally trending hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.

The goal of Boko Haram is to carve out an Islamist state in the north of the country and since it began in 2009 it has killed thousands of Nigerians, including at least 470 civilians during the seven weeks since the girls' abduction.