US Secretary of State Aborts Nigeria Trip, Returns to Washington

Four days into official visit, Tillerson falls sick in Kenya, cancels engagements

Tillerson meets Kenyan Prez Kenyatta

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has told the visiting United States Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, that negotiations are underway, in concert with global organizations, to secure the release of hundreds of schoolgirls captured by Boko Haram terrorists.

The meeting started some few minutes after 4 p.m. after President Buhari returned from an official visit to Benue State.

Tillerson is the highest ranking USA official to visit Nigeria since Donald Trump was inaugurated as president in January 2017.

Buhari was earlier in Benue today as part of his official tour of troubled areas in the country.

In a statement on Monday, the Presidency in Nigeria quoted President Buhari as telling Tillerson that his administration "prefers to have schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok and Dapchi back alive, and that is why it has chosen negotiation, rather than military option".

A key mission for Tillerson will be to ensure sustained Chadian cooperation, while also easing its displeasure for being included last September on the visa-ban list.

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Tillerson said he was concerned about the presence of Islamic State-allied militants in West Africa.

On the outskirts of a sprawling reserve of Kenyan grasslands where endangered animals roam wild, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lavished praise on an American-funded forensics lab that tracks down elephant-poachers for prosecution, and urged aggressive action in Africa on conservation. Trump took to Twitter to call the practice a "horror show".

His trip to Africa has also been plagued by ill health.

The secretary had gone two days without sleep while working on North Korea and other issues, Goldstein said on Saturday.

Tillerson's week-long, five-country tour coincided with several urgent foreign policy developments, including Thursday's announcement that US President Donald Trump will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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