Boko Haram Leader Abubakar Shekau Seeks Negotiation Over Abducted Girls
The leader of the Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has indicated willingness to negotiate the release of the kidnapped Chibok school girls, a new video has shown.
To release the girls, Mr. Shekau said, the federal government must release all Boko Haram prisoners across the country.
Hundreds of Boko Haram prisoners are held in various detention centres across Nigeria with some, like former cell leader, Kabiru Sokoto, already sentenced for terrorism.
The Boko Haram has killed thousands of people in terrorist activities since its insurgency began in 2009.
The recent video appears to be a slight change in stance from an earlier one by Mr. Shekau in which he threatened to sell or marry off the girls. Both videos were sourced through the same route and are believed to be authentic.
The recent video, released on Monday morning, also shows about 136 girls believed to be the kidnapped victims.
The girls, dressed in full-length hijab, with only faces and hands showing, were reciting Suratul-Fatiha, the first chapter of the Holy Quran.
Mr. Shekau claimed most of the girls have converted to Islam and the ones that have converted are now ‘sisters’ to the sect’s members.
The 27-minute video also shows an interview with some of the girls who mentioned their names.
Some of them said they were Christians and have converted to Islam, while one said she was a Muslim before the kidnap.
It is not clear when and where the video was shot.
Over 250 girls were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State on April 14. About 53 of them were later reunited with their families with many of them escaping from their abductors.
The kidnap has drawn international and local criticism with the U.S., U.K., China, and others pledging to assist Nigeria to free the girls.
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