MS Risk Blog

New Boko Haram video Claims to Show the Missing Nigerian Schoolgirls

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A new Boko Haram video released on Monday claims to show the missing Nigerian schoolgirls, alleging that they had been converted to Islam and that they would not be released until all militant prisoners were freed.  In the twenty-seven minute video, the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, speaks before what he says were about 130 of the girls.   He states that “we will never release them until after you release our brethren.”  The militant leader, who has made prisoner exchange demands before, further indicated that some of the teenagers had converted from Christianity to Islam.  In the video, the girls are seen wearing the full-length hijab and praying in an undisclosed rural location.   Three of the girls are also shown speaking in the video, with two of them stating that they were Christian and that they have since converted to Islam, while the other indicates that she is a Muslim.

The fact that only about 130 of the 276 schoolgirls are shown in the new video indicates that the girls have likely been split into smaller groups to help avoid detection.  Local officials have also indicated that they have started making copies of the video in order to show relatives and friends of the abducted girls in a bid to identify them.

On April 14, a total of 276 girls were abducted from the north eastern town of Chibok, in Borno sate, which has a sizeable Christian community.  While some of the managed to escape, some 223 are still missing.

Meanwhile hours after the release of a new Boko Haram video, Nigerian officials rejected conditions set out by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekasu for the release of more than 200 schoolgirls held hostage by the Islamist militants.

Asked if the government would reject the suggestion by Shekau that the girls may be released once Nigeria frees all militant prisoners, Interior Minister Abba Moro stated “of course,” adding “the issue in question is not about Boko Haram…giving conditions.”

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