In a harrowing new twist, a video showing more than 100 of Nigeria’s stolen schoolgirls was released today by their captors, Islamist militants Boko Haram.
It’s the latest turn of events since more than 200 teenagers were kidnapped from their school in the pre-dawn hours of April 14. Though few managed to escape, the majority of the girls have not been seen since.
Though the video, which claims to show the girls praying, offers no clues as to when or where it was taken, experts - and parents of the schoolgirls - are hopeful that it could be the first step towards a negotiated settlement to secure their release. Previously, Boko Haram have threatened to sell the girls to men.
The #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign continues [Twitter]
Chillingly, Boko Haram say that they have ‘liberated’ the girls, by forcing them to covert from Christian to Muslim. Three girls - all wearing hijabs - are shown speaking in the 27-minute video released by French news agency Agence France-Presse. Two of them say to camera that they were Christian and have converted to Islam, whilst one says that she is Muslim.
Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, says in the video: “These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves with… we have indeed liberated them. These girls have become Muslims.”