Boko Haram release video of Chibok girls who are still held captive
Boko Haram released a new video last week which it says shows 14 of the girl students abducted from a Christian school in Chibok in April 2014.
Despite the formidable international campaign for their release, the girls who appear in the video, some with faces hidden, vow to stay with their captors and never go home. Three of the alleged victims hold babies in their arms. “We are the Chibok girls,” says one of the girls in the video, her face covered by a veil. “We are the ones you are crying about for us to come back. By the grace of Allah, we will never return.”
Addressing the other Chibok students who had regained their freedom, that same young woman says: “God blessed you and you were taken to the Caliphate, but you chose to be impious again. “You must repent … the flames of hell are your destiny if you do not repent because Allah created us so that we adore him.” Last May, Boko Haram released 82 of the girls kidnapped in exchange for the release of several terrorists.
In the 21-minute video, broadcast on the Sahara Reporters website, one of the leaders of the extremist group, Abubakar Shekau, appears with a submachine gun and gives a speech. The spokeswoman for the schoolgirls explains that Shekau would have “married them all.” “We live in comfort. He gives us everything. We do not lack anything, “she says.
It was impossible to tell from the video if the girls’ message had been coerced but analysts suspect that the girls who appear on the video are “under duress.” The images show “the level of control” that the captors have over them and “surely aggravate the suffering of their relatives”.
Some of the Chibok girls who managed to escape reported that their kidnappers forced them to convert to Islam. According to their testimony, the jihadists threatened to cut their throats if they refused to follow their instructions. They said some young girls were raped several time a day. Many female captives of Boko Haram have been forced into becoming sex slaves and suicide bombers.Others were sold for about 2,000 nairas (less than ten euros), or handed over as wives to leaders of the radical organization.
It not certain if the girls in the video were in fact among the nearly 300 who were kidnapped by fighters from their school in northeastern Nigeria as they were preparing for exams. Allen Manasa, a spokesman for the village of Chibok, said he could not verify the identities of anyone in the video. The girls’ families have not yet seen the video, he said.
Even if the girls who appear in the video were some of the Chibok girls, the experts consulted said:”This phenomenon is not unusual among the victims” of the Nigerian gang. After being held for such a long period “it is not surprising that captives develop the Stockholm syndrome.”