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Intensified search for kidnapped Nigerian girls: AU

Published on Jun 7, 2014 6:17 AM
The Abuja wing of the "Bring Back Our Girls" protest group prepare to march to the presidential villa to deliver a protest letter to Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, calling for the release of the Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok who were kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram, May 22, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) - The African Union is involved in intensifying efforts to find more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram two months ago, its Ugandan ambassador said on Friday in New York.

Asked what the AU was doing to help, Mr Mull Katende said it was engaged in "quiet diplomacy, because some of this information, we don't want it to reach those who abducted the children." "We look forward to their recovery as soon as possible, and all heads of state of the African Union have offered their support," he said after talks between AU and UN counterparts in New York.

The Ugandan diplomat said Nigeria could learn a lesson from his own country's 20-year war against Lords Resistance Army rebels, "on how to isolate Boko Haram from the population." Asked how negotiations for the girls' release could be advanced, Mr Katende told reporters: "There are intensified efforts and a number of countries are helping Nigeria." "Now some of those efforts cannot come into the public, but these efforts are there, and we are hoping that these girls can be recovered very soon," he added.

He said the African Union wanted to strengthen its institutions and intelligence cells devoted to terrorism and was "employing a wide range of measures," without going into specifics.

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