Conflict & Justice

A new video appears to show the kidnapped girls from Nigeria

For more than a month, no one knew if the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped from their Nigerian village were dead or alive.

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Monday that answer became clear.

A video released by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, shows more than a 100 teenage school girls alive.

They were wearing a full body veil with their faces visible. They looked stressed and worried, said Muhammed Kabir Muhammed, of the BBC's Hausa Service in Abuja.

Still, it was good news.

"One parent said he was happy by seeing the video because it shows the girls are still alive," said Muhammed who had spoken to some of the parents.

The video does not indicate where the girls are located but Muhammed suspects they are still in the country. Although he wonders how long that may last. 

The group's leader Abubakar Shekau announced last week that he intended to sell the girls as slaves.

But in this newly released video, Shekau said the girls will remain captive until the Nigerian government releases some of the group's jailed fighters.

The Nigerian government of President Goodluck Jonathan has said he will not negotiate with the group.

There are many opinions, said Muhammed, who's been covering Boko Haram. Some believe the government should take military intervention more seriously. Others feel the government should negotiate with the militants. 

"But the government is saying that it will not negotiate ... It is going to take military action in the northeast of Nigeria where the group is holed up with the girls," said Muhammed. "And probably the group may decide to retaliate by IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in ... some places."

The abuction of the girls has generated international condemnation. It also drew attention to the inaction and slow response by President Jonathan who waited weeks before speaking publicly.

First he turned away offers of help from the United States and the United Kingdom. Then, under heavy criticism from all corners, Jonathan relented and asked for help.

Muhammed believes the international support from the US and the UK pressured Shekau to release the video and make his demands known.

The abductions shouldn't have come as a surprise to the Nigerian government. Muhammed said Shekau threatened last year to kidnap the daughters and wives of government officials who were arresting wives and daughters of Boko Haram members.

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