Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video Monday of what is understood to be some of the reported 276 schoolgirls kidnapped from the the Nigerian region of Chibok. In the clip, Shekau claims the girls were “liberated” by their conversion to Islam and is essentially using them as a bargaining chip.
Shekau delivered a similar rant to the one the group previously released in where he threatened to sell the girls off into slavery. In the latest video obtained by French news agency AFP, Shekau’s disturbing stance is back on display once more and this time he has demanded the release of imprisoned Boko Haram militants.
“We will never release them until our brethren are released,” he said. “Our brethren that are held in Borno in Yobe, in Kano, in Kaduna, in Abuja, in Lagos and Enugu. Our brethren that are held all over Nigeria,” said Shekau in his native Hausa language and Arabic.
He added, “Just because we kidnapped these young girls, you are making noise? Allah has blessed most of them with accepting Islam. You are making so much noise about Chibok, Chibok, Chibok. Only Allah knows how many women we are holding.”
A New York Times report source says that while the Nigerian government has not launched negotiations with Boko Haram, there is activity in the region that suggests some meets may be underway. Parents in Chibok, desperate to know the fate of their children, have yet to see or hear audio of Shekau’s latest clip because of the lack of Internet and television in the area.
The clip shows the girls reciting the opening chapter of the Holy Qur’an according to a guest on BBC News who appears to be on the ground regarding the unfolding situation. BBC News reports in the clip that 130 girls were shown although that number could not be confirmed. Two of the girls stated on the clip they converted to Islam, with another saying that the group has not been harmed.
View a clip of the latest video below.
Photo: BBC News