The Boko Haram terrorist sect have issued yet another video, showing, as they claim, the missing Chibok girls who still are in their captivity. Also in the video, the sect's leader Abubakar Shekau imposes options for the girls' release.
It will be recalled that in their previous video entry, the sect have claimed responsibility for the abduction of 276 female students. The girls were snatched from their school's dormitories by the Boko Haram insurgents in Chibok town, Borno State, on April 14. While some of them have managed to escape, over 200 still remain in the terrorists' hands. Eleven more girls were abducted from the Gwoza area of Borno State on May 4.
In the video obtained by AFP, Shekau appears dressed in a military uniform and holds an automatic weapon. He speaks in the Hausa and Arabic languages.
He says the girls were "liberated" by converting to Islam. He then suggests that the girls could be traded for the "Boko Haram's brothers in arms" who have been serving their prison time, explaining, "We will never release them [the girls] until after you release our brethren. Here I mean those girls who have not submitted [converted to Islam]".
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The video also includes footage of about 130 girls whom the terrorists claim to be the abducted Chibok female students. It is worth noting that Shekau does not appear in the same shot as the girls at any point during the video.
The girls were shown wearing black and grey full-length hijabs, reciting the first chapter of the Qur'an and holding their palms upwards in prayer. Their location is undetermined.
Three of the girls are then interviewed: two of them say they were Christian and had converted to Islam, while one girl says she was Muslim. The girls appeared calm and one said that they had not been harmed, although in the previous video, Shekau had threatened to sell the girls into slavery.
There was no indication of when the video was taken, although the quality is better than on previous occasions and at one point an armed man is seen in shot with a hand-held video camera.
The Nigerian government has been criticised for its lack of immediate response to the abduction, with a wave of demonstrations demanding action engulfing the whole country and drawing attention of the world. The police have offered a N50 million reward for any information that could lead to identifying the whereabouts of the girls.
However, President Goodluck Jonathan has accepted help from the United States, Britain, France, China and Israel, which have sent specialist teams to help in the search effort.
Previously, a former mediator, human rights activist and the leader of the National Civil Rights Congress, Shehu Sani has suggested that the kidnapped girls may be used for prisoner swap.
" rel="nofollow">Video version of the development by BBC.