Boko Haram Video Appears to Show Kidnapped Nigerian Girls Praying

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from The New York Times,

A new clue about the fate of hundreds of girls kidnapped by an Islamist extremist group in Nigeria emerged Monday with the release of a video apparently showing many of the girls and new threats to “sell them” and “hold them as slaves” until Boko Haram members are released from prison.

If genuine, it would be the first public glimpse of the girls since they were seized on April 14 from a school in Chibok, an isolated village some 80 miles from this regional capital in Nigeria’s far northeast, where an Islamist insurgency has bedeviled the authorities for years.

The video shows dozens of girls dressed in head scarves and long gowns that cover their bodies but reveal their faces. They are praying and seated cross-legged in the type of scrubland that is pervasive in this region, not far from the Sahara Desert. One of the girls is shown reciting the opening of the Quran; three express allegiance to Islam; two say they had converted from Christianity.

It was impossible to fully authenticate the video, and one parent reached in Chibok said nobody there had seen it because there is no electricity, much less Internet access.

The video contains a disjointed, ranting message from Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, in Hausa and Arabic. In it, he acknowledges the worldwide attention the kidnappings have drawn.

“Just because we kidnapped these young girls, you are making noise? Allah has blessed most of them with accepting Islam,” he says. “You are making so much noise about Chibok, Chibok, Chibok. Only Allah knows how many women we are holding.”

He repeated the slavery threat he made in a video released a week ago. “There are many verses in the Quran that allows the seizing of slaves. Abduction of slaves is allowed,” he said. “It exists, it exists, yes, it exists.”

The schools in this region had been closed for weeks before the kidnapping because of Boko Haram attacks. But the girls had come back to the Chibok government school to take an exam, and were staying overnight. The Islamists overpowered what little police protection the town had and seized more than 300 girls. About 50 were subsequently able to flee their captors.

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