Boko Haram released a video on Monday that the militant group claims shows the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls praying and talking in an undisclosed location. The video, obtained by Agence-France Presse, also features Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau saying that the girls will not be freed until all militants held by the government are released.
It has been nearly a month since 276 girls were abducted from their school in Chibok, and more than 220 of them are still missing.
The video shows around 100 girls; three girls speak in the video. As BBC News reports, two of the girls say they were Christian but have now converted to Islam; the third girl says she is Muslim. "These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves with ... we have indeed liberated them. These girls have become Muslims," Shekau says in the video.
While Nigerians continue to keep pressure on their government to act, the regular demonstrations demanding accountability from Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, international offers of aid and a global outpouring of solidarity and support have brought little comfort to many parents in Chibok grieving their missing daughters, the New York Times reports:
“We are deeply in sorrow,” said Mary Dawa, whose 16-year-old daughter, Hawa Isha, is missing. “Every day, I am in deep sorrow. I don’t even feel like eating.”
Asked how she was coping, she said, “How can I start?” [...]
The officials in the town, though — some of whom say they warned security services of the impending attack on April 14, to no avail — feel their constituents’ pain acutely. “These are small girls who are used to seeing their parents every morning,” said Zanna Madu Mai Usman Chibokma, an official in Chibok. “Now they are in the bush. What conditions are they being subjected to?” [...]
The mothers seemed only dimly aware of the international efforts or protests, though, and not much comforted. Their daughters are still missing.
“I’m not happy at all,” said Yana Galang, the mother of 16-year-old Rifka. “She’s in the bush. I don’t know where she is right now.”
International aid teams from the United States and the United Kingdom and an Israeli counter-terrorism team are assisting the Nigerian government in its search efforts.