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France hopes to host summit on kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls

A demonstration in Lagos demands the return of the kidnapped schoolgirls Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye

Paris hopes to host a summit of African leaders on efforts to find the 223 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamist Boko Haram group, French President François Hollande announced on Sunday. The meeting could take place as early as next Saturday.

On a visit to Azerbaijan on Sunday, Hollande said he had the agreement of Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan for a meeting on security in west Africa, focussing on Boko Haram,

Dossier: Sharia wars - Boko Haram v the military in northern Nigeria

which will go ahead if other leaders agree.

The leaders of at least five African countries - Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin - may take part, a source close to the president said.

France, Britain and the US have already sent specialist teams to help the hunt for the girls and Israel announced on Sunday that it was to join the efforts.

There are fears that the girls have been moved to Chad and Cameroon but Jonathan has said be believed the girls are still in Nigeria.