The Nigerian government was willing to negotiate the release of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram through a foreign intermediary, President Muhammadu Buhari said Sunday.
Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls and young women on April 14, 2014, from their school dormitory in the north-eastern village of Chibok.
Only about 50 of the abductees managed to escape immediately, while the rest are still believed to be held by Boko Haram, either as sex slaves or in forced marriages.
Despite various attempts to search for the missing girls and negotiate directly with the terror group, the military only managed to rescue one of the girls, in May, so far.
"If they do not want to talk to us directly, let them pick an internationally recognized non-governmental organization, convince them that they are holding the girls and that they want Nigeria to release a number of Boko Haram leaders in detention," President Buhari said in a statement.
The proposal comes two weeks after Boko Haram released a video showing dozens of young women who the group claimed were the abducted pupils. In the video, a masked gunman clutching an assault rifle calls on the parents of the "Chibok girls" to pressure the Nigerian government to release detained Boko Haram members, promising to let the kidnapped young women go in return.
Bring Back Our Girls, a group working to recover the kidnap victims, confirmed the identity of some of the girls and requested the government take action with "an immediate, transparent, action and results-oriented plan."