A new video appears to show the kidnapped girls from Nigeria

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Audio Transcript:

Marco Werman: And now to that other crisis that's been in the news for the past few weeks: the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria. A video released today by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram seems to show some of the kidnapped girls for the first time. About 100 of them appear on screen wearing a full-body veil but with their faces visible. Also on the video, Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, says the girls will remain captive until the government releases some of the group's jailed fighters. Muhammed Kabir Muhammed is with the BBC's Hausa Service in Abuja, the Nigerian capital. He says this is the first time Boko Haram has made demands in connection with the abductions.

Muhammed Kabir Muhammed: Previously they made a demand that their women and children should not be arrested by security agencies and they said if the security agencies did not stop arresting their wives and children they would also start abducting the wives and children of the security personnel. But this is the first time they are making demands that the government should release their prisoners before they release the girls.

Werman: What you're essentially saying is that these abducted girls are actually part of a series of reprisals between the government and Boko Haram?

Muhammed: In a way, that is so.

Werman: The so-called leader of Boko Haram in this video, he's in a different shot from the video of the girls who seem to be seated underneath a tree. Is it clear whether the guy making the demands is even in the same place as the girls?

Muhammed: It may not necessarily be so because local people have been giving reports of seeing the girls in a number of places which he may not be speaking at. So actually what happened was that he did this video and they took the video of the girls elsewhere and brought the two pictures together.

Werman: Who are these videos aimed for? The Nigerian government? The parents? The international community which is really frustrated and angered by all of this?

Muhammed: If you listen to Abubakar Shekau, because he spoke in both Arabic and Hausa, if you listen to him you'll understand that he was addressing the international community. He mentioned President Obama, he mentioned François Hollande, that is the French president and other world leaders.

Werman: I'm also curious, Muhammed, is there anything to suggest that the international condemnation of Boko Haram is having any effect on the group and kind of shaking their resolve to keep these girls in captivity?

Muhammed: Yes, and I believe that especially the offer of assistance from governments like the United States, United Kingdom and other countries is putting pressure on the group. That's why they have decided to come out with this video, to say "Okay, this is what we want, so you do this for us and we are going to do this for you."

Werman: Muhammed, you're in Abuja, the capital. What are you friends in northern Nigeria telling you about how - say for example, the parents of these girls, have they seen this video and how did they interpret it?

Muhammed: We have been speaking to some of the parents by phone. One parent in particular said that he was happy by seeing the video because that shows that the girls are alive.

Werman: If this video is real and if these demands are real, to release Boko Haram prisoners in exchange for the release of these girls, I'm sure you've given thought to how this crisis could possibly end. Where do you see it headed?

Muhammed: Many people have different opinions about how to end this crisis. ome believe the government should take military intervention more seriously. Others feel the government should negotiate with the Boko Haram militants. But the government is saying that they're not going to negotiate. So obviously if they're not going to negotiate then it's going to take military action in northeast of Nigeria where the group is held up with the girls. Probably the group may decide to retaliate by IEDs in some other places.

Werman: Muhammed Kabir Muhammed with the BBC's Hausa Service, speaking with us from the Nigerian capital of Abuja. Muhammed, thank you very much for your time.

Muhammed: You're welcome.

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