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In Nigeria, a situation brewing for weeks involving the kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls has slowly captured global attention. Now, the leader of a violent Islamist group in the African nation has claimed responsibility for the terrifying act.

Boko Haram, the group of militant extremists that declared war against President Goodluck Jonathan’s government, has grown in stature and infamy. The brazen kidnapping of the girls was reportedly acknowledged by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who said he intends to sell off the students in a video obtained by AFP.

From NBC News:

AFP said it had obtained a video from Boko Haram showing the group’s leader Abubakar Shekau claiming responsibility for the kidnappings by saying “I abducted your girls.”

“I will sell them in the market,” Shekau adds, according to AFP. It did not immediately give further details and the report could not immediately be verified by NBC News.

The girls were kidnapped from a secondary school in the Chibok village of the Borno State in Northeast Nigeria. There have been conflicting numbers regarding how many girls were abducted, and a number of the students managed to escape the clutches of their captives. Police last week said 276 girls are still missing with 53 escaping.

The fathers and uncles of the girls ventured into the woods to retrieve the students, but they were unsuccessful and possibly no match for the heavily armed militants. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke out publicly regarding the Chibok kidnappings and vowed that the United States would support efforts to locate the students.

President Jonathan has endured the call of mothers searching for their girls in a variety of emotional protests last week and has said he will use his power to find the girls.

A Twitter campaign, “#BringBackOurGirls” was launched last week with several demonstrations taking place in the United States, London and other areas worldwide.

The Chibok incident came after a bombing attack last month in Nigeria’s capital Abuja was tied to the Islamists.

Photo: AP