OUTRAGE AS BOKO HARAM THREATENS TO SELL ABDUCTED GIRLS
In a video filled with taunts, insults and threatens, the leader of the dreaded Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, has boasted that he would sell the over 200 abducted girls since April 14 into slavery reports say.
Abubakar Shekau claimed in a video obtained by the AFP news wire service that a buyer for the schoolgirls would be found.
Describing the students as “slaves,” he said: “I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah.”
At least 276 youngsters were seized from their school in the village of Chibok, in Borno state, north Nigeria, by Boko Haram militants three weeks ago.
Nigerian police said 53 managed to escape shortly after the attack, but at least 223 are still missing. Relatives suggest that figure could be considerably higher.
Reports had previously circulated that some of the girls missing have already been sold as brides across Nigeria’s border with Chad and Cameroon for as little as £7 ($12).
It is not clear whether the video was recorded before or after those reports.
The video was also the first time Boko Haram has admitted carrying out the abduction.
The group, whose name means “Western education is sinful,” regularly attacks civilian targets. However, the brazenness of the school attack – during which the girls were rounded up and put on to trucks – has shocked Nigerians accustomed to atrocities in the five-year conflict with the insurgents.
A group called “Bring Back Our Girls,” comprised of relatives of the missing students, have staged regular protests across Nigeria calling for the government and military to do more to find the girls.
President Goodluck Jonathan took to the radio and TV on Sunday night to respond to criticism over his government’s handling of the crisis.
He said: “We promise that anywhere the girls are, we will surely get them out.”
The president said he had asked US President Barack Obama, Britain, France and China, for help to counter the activities of the Islamic terror group Boko Haram and dismissed claims his government was negotiating with the group.
He also pleaded for the parents of the missing girls and their local communities to co-operate with the rescue efforts during what he described as a “trying” and “painful” time.
It came amid claims that protest leader Naomi Mutah Nyadar was arrested after holding a meeting with Nigeria’s First Lady, Patience Jonathan at the presidential palace.
Fellow protester Hadiza Bala Usman said Ms Nyadar was arrested “at the request of the first lady” after falsely identifying herself as one of the mothers of the girls.
Another, Lawan Abana, said Ms Nyadar was in fact representing mothers who could not make it to the meeting in Nigeria’s capital Abuja and had never claimed otherwise.