Boko Haram offers to swap kidnapped Nigerian girls for prisoners

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By Lanre Ola MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - The leader of the Nigerian Islamist rebel group Boko Haram has offered to release more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by his fighters last month in exchange for its prisoners, according to a video posted on YouTube on Monday. About 100 girls wearing full veils and praying are shown in an undisclosed location in a part of the 17-minute video in which Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau speaks. Boko Haram militants, who are fighting for an Islamist state, stormed a secondary school in the northeastern village of Chibok on April 14 and seized 276 girls who were taking exams. Nigeria has deployed two army divisions to hunt for the girls while several countries, including the United States, Britain, Israel and France, have offered help or sent experts.