ABUJA, NIGERIA — The Nigerian president said today there will be "no negotiations for a prisoner exchange” with the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram for the return of the more than 250 kidnapped schoolgirls, a British diplomat told ABC News.
In a briefing in Abuja this afternoon, the United Kingdom's Africa Minister Mark Simmons said he had just left a meeting with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and that the president indicated the government will not negotiate an exchange.
There are more than 4,000 Boko Haram members in detention, according to the Nigerian Interior Ministry.
Responding to a question from ABC News about whether the West is sharing all relevant intelligence with Nigeria, Simmons said, “We’re working on it." He noted the U.S., U.K. and France are work to coordinate the best way to share intelligence with the Nigerians.
Simmons described a “fusion cell” of officials from various countries working to establish where the girls are and a plan to find them. He said the next step would be to bring them back.
The intelligence picture “is confusing,” Simmons said, noting that the Nigerian intelligence is “often conflicting."
And asked about efforts to find the Boko Haram leader, Simmons said “the priority is finding the girls."
As for military assistance, it's “very unlikely there’ll be U.K. combat troops on the ground," the minister said.