UN calls for unconditional release of children kidnapped by Boko Haram

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says Friday that he would never stop calling for the "immediate and unconditional" release of the schoolchildren kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria last year. Ban was speaking at the African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, calling for more international help.

"We are seeing clear signs of progress. I urge the international community to commit more resources at this critical time. We will never forget the girls and boys kidnapped from Chibok last April and I will never calling stop calling for their immediate and unconditional release," Ban Ki-moon said.

Meanwhile, AU called for a regional five-nation force of 7,500 troops to defeat the "horrendous" rise of Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamist militants. AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in a speech opening the summit, that the threat of Boko Haram requires a collective, effective and decisive response. Boko Haram group is increasing its attacks as Nigeria prepares for February 14 elections. The Islamic extremists were reported this week to be rampaging through villages in northeastern Nigeria. More than 40 people have been killed in seven villages in the attacks that started on January 23.