"We know where they are, but we cannot tell you," a Nigerian government official told demonstrators.
A Nigerian defense official says his country's military has located the schoolgirls abducted by extremist group Boko Haram.
Chief Defense Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh told demonstrators at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Abuja that Nigerian troops knew the whereabouts of the nearly 300 girls abducted seven weeks ago, but didn't want to jeopardize their well-being. "The good news for the parents of the girls is that we know where they are, but we cannot tell you," he said. "But where they are held, can we go there with force? We can't kill our girls in the name of trying to get them back."
Military officials think the risk of a raid on Boko Haram would put the schoolgirls in harms way as their captors would resort to killing them in retaliation. A deal to have Boko Haram prisoners exchanged for the girls was reportedly called off after it was made public, reports the BBC.
Of the nearly 300 girls abducted on April 15 from a boarding school in the town of Chibok, 267 remain captive. Fifty three have reportedly escaped.