Fears for the fate of 223 Nigerian girls turned even more nightmarish after the leader of the Islamist militant group that abducted them announced in a video released on May 5 plans to sell them. In the video, Abubakar Shekau, who claims to be the leader of Boko Haram, a terrorist group receiving training from Al Qaeda affiliates, spoke in the local Hausa language demanding an end to western education.
“I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah… There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women,” said Shekau in his hour-long recording.
Boko Haram literally translates as “western education is sin” and the organization believes that women should restrict their activities to completing household chores instead of learning how to read and write. Recently, the group has carried out several attacks and killed thousands of students at schools, churches, government buildings as well as police stations.
According to the Nigerian government, the tape will not intimidate or deter the concerned authorities from saving the abducted girls.
“It is disheartening that someone would make such a terrible boast… It is to be expected of terrorists. No group can affect our resolve. We will see this through to the end. We have the commitment and capacity to get this done. No matter what this takes, we will get these girls. Wherever these girls are, we'll get them out,” said Doyin Okupe, spokesman for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
The threat means that the abducted girls’ parents will refrain from speaking to the media fearing the singling out of their daughters for reprisals. Okupe thus urged the girls’ parents to fully cooperate with the police saying that they have not provided the authorities with sufficient information as yet.
Armed members of Boko Haram abducted 276 girls on April 14 after they outnumbered security guards and invaded the school premises, before driving into the dense forests bordering Cameroon. Locals scouted the area for approximately nine hours to find the girls but their efforts were in vain.
Photo Credits: Reuters & Afolabi Sotunde