Ministers call for release of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram group

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Ministers have stressed their commitment to tackling Islamic extremists in Nigeria on the third anniversary of the mass abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls.

More than 270 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram from a school in Chibok, in north east Nigeria, in an event which sparked an international outcry and led to a global Bring Back Our Girls movement supported by former first lady Michelle Obama.

Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood and International Development Minister James Wharton issued a joint statement condemning the actions of the "barbaric terrorists" and calling for the return of the stolen girls.

Nigeria announced the release of 21 schoolgirls in October after negotiating with the extremist group but at least 195 girls remain captive.

It comes days after Nigerian security officials foiled an attack by Boko Haram on the British High Commission in the capital Abuja.

Mr Ellwood and Mr Wharton said: "Our thoughts are with the Chibok girls who remain missing, their families and all those abducted by Boko Haram.

"We are working side by side with Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram and call for the release of all those who have been taken.

"During our visits to Nigeria last year, we heard how people's lives have been devastated by Boko Haram.

"We are committed to supporting Nigeria in the fight against these barbaric terrorists."

The Foreign Office travel advice for Nigeria warns of "a continuing high threat from terrorism" and "major towns and cities remain particularly at risk".