A top military official in Nigeria says the military knows where more than 200 schoolgirls are being held hostage. But he warned it would be difficult to use force to rescue them.
Chief of Defense Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh told reporters on Monday that a military operation could be dangerous for the hostages. He said, "We can't kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back." In his words, "The good news for the parents of the girls is that we know where they are, but we cannot tell you."
The girls were kidnapped in last month while taking exams in a secondary school in northern Nigeria.
The militant Islamist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the kidnappings. The group says it wants to exchange the girls for Boko Haram members who are in prison.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and his government are facing sharp criticism for their failure to rescue the missing girls. Several countries, including the United States, are providing the government with help to look for the girls.
Boko Haram is blamed for thousands of killings during its five-year campaign to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria. In recent weeks, the group has stepped up the intensity of its attacks.