Video shows girls taken by Boko Haram

Video provided by Boko Haram to negotiators seeking release of Nigerian girls

 

A video apparently showing a group of Nigerian girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram two years ago has been shown to distraught parents in the town of Chibok.

Fifteen girls, who are among more than 200 still missing, appear on the video, which was made almost four months ago and was obtained by CNN. In response to off-camera questions, they calmly say their names and where they are from. The girls, who are Christian, are wearing black hijabs.

Towards the end of the two-minute clip, one of the girls, Naomi Zakaria, urges the Nigerian authorities to help reunite the girls with their families. “I am speaking on December 25th, 2015, on behalf of the all the Chibok girls and we are all well,” she says, stressing the word “all”.

It is the first footage of the girls since a video released a month after they were kidnapped on April 14th, 2014.

Their abduction triggered a global campaign for their release. The campaign was supported by Michelle Obama and dozens of celebrities.

The video was provided by Boko Haram as a show of good faith, at the request of negotiators trying to secure the release of the girls. Parents saw it for the first time this week.

Hundreds of Chibok parents marched in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, and other cities yesterday to demand the government step up efforts to free the girls. Others held a prayer vigil at the government girls secondary school in Chibok from where the girls were taken.

Children in Chibok and its surroundings have no school to attend, Nkeki said. “Boko Haram has achieved its aim. They say they don’t want us to have western education and our children don’t.”

The previous government, under the former president Goodluck Jonathan, was criticised for its slow response to the abductions. He was voted from office a year ago, and the new president, Muhammadu Buhari, pledged to step up efforts to find and free the girls.

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s information minister, has declined to comment directly on talks with Boko Haram, which has said it would release the girls in exchange for captured fighters in Nigerian prisons.A classmate of the girls, who was at home on the day of abduction, identified all 15 in the video.

About 2,000 children have been abducted by Boko Haram since 2014, according to Amnesty International. Many are used as sex slaves, fighters and – increasingly – suicide bombers. – (Guardian service)