Boko Haram in video threat to sell abducted Nigerian schoolgirls
The Nigerian militant group that abducted hundreds of schoolgirls has recorded a video in which it threatens to sell them.
Boko Haram admitted for the first time that it was behind the mass kidnapping of more than 300 girls – police say 276 of them are still missing.
The Islamist group’s leader Abubakar Shekau said in the video the girls should be getting married instead of being in school.
In the hour-long recording, he added: “I abducted your girls.”
Shekau called the girls “slaves” and said: “I will sell them because I have the market to sell them.”
He added: “God instructed me to sell them. They are his properties and I will carry out his instructions.”
Boko Haram – whose name means “Western education is forbidden” – attacked the Government Girls Secondary boarding school at Chibok in Borno state on April 14. More than 50 pupils are reported to have escaped their captors.
The Associated Press news agency said it was not clear if the video was made before or after reports emerged last week that some of the girls have been forced to marry their abductors and that others have been carried into neighbouring Cameroon and Chad.
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan said yesterday his administration is doing everything possible to find the girls, aged 16 to 18, and bring them home safely.
In a live TV broadcast, he said: “Wherever these girls are, we’ll get them out.
“I sympathise and express my empathy to the parents and the relatives of these girls.”
Last week he created a presidential committee to go to the affected Borno state to work with the community on a strategy to get the girls free.
There were protests in the capital Abuja and other cities calling for urgent action to locate the girls, as well as demonstrations at the weekend in London, Toronto, New York, Washington, DC and elsewhere. There are also growing social media calls around the world for the teenagers to be found – using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.
A World at School Global Youth Ambassadors from Nigeria have called on the international community to do more.
And they have backed a petition at Change.org which has more than 250,000 signatures calling for the Nigerian government and other countries to find and rescue the girls.
UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown will be meeting President Jonathan this week regarding the abductions.
He said: “I have arranged to meet him in Abuja to express our fears about the fate of the schoolgirls who have been abducted and offer the world’s support as he endeavours to secure their safety.”