Islamist militants Boko Haram on Monday released a new video purporting to show at least 14 of the schoolgirls abducted from the northeast Nigerian town of Chibok in April 2014.
At least three of the group were seen carrying babies. One of the students said: “We are the Chibok girls… . By the grace of Allah, we will not return to you.” The 20-minute-long video is the first since May last year when a woman claiming to be one of the 219 schoolgirls was seen holding a gun and also refusing to return to her parents.
It was not clear when or where the latest message was recorded or whether those who appeared on camera were under duress. But the woman speaking, her face covered by a veil, said they had all been married by Boko Haram factional leader Abubakar Shekau. “We live in comfort. He provides us with everything. We lack nothing,” she added.
Shekau is also seen in the video, firing a heavy machine gun and making a 13-minute-long sermon. The jihadists seized 276 students from the Government Girls Secondary School in the mostly Christian town in Borno state on April 14, 2014, triggering global condemnation.
Fifty-nine of them managed to escape in the hours that followed. A total of 107 girls have now been either found, rescued or released as part of government negotiations with the Islamic State group affiliate. On January 4, the Nigerian army said it had rescued one of the girls’ classmates in the remote Pulka region of Borno, near the border with Cameroon.
The Chibok abductees are among thousands of women, girls and boys kidnapped during the conflict, which began in 2009 and has killed at least 20,000 people and displaced more than 2.6 million.