Boko Haram Leader Says All Nigerian Schoolgirls Converted To Islam, Married Off
The leader of Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram says that all of the schoolgirls it kidnapped earlier this year are married off, presumably to much older men:
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — With a malevolent laugh, the leader of Nigeria’s Islamic extremists tells the world that more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls have all been converted to Islam and married off, dashing hopes for their freedom.
“If you knew the state your daughters are in today, it might lead some of you … to die from grief,” Abubakar Shekau sneers, addressing the parents of the girls and young women kidnapped from a remote boarding school more than six months ago.
In a new video released late Friday night, the Boko Haram leader also denies there is a cease-fire with the Nigerian government and threatens to kill an unidentified German hostage.
“Don’t you know we are still holding your German hostage (who is) always crying,” he taunts. “If we want, we will hack him or slaughter him or shoot him.”
A German development worker was kidnapped at gunpoint in Gombi, a town in Nigeria’s northeast Gombi in July. Police reported he was ambushed as he drove to work.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier last week told reporters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, that he had no new information about a German abductee.
In the new video, Shekau wears a camouflage tunic and pants and the black and white flag of al-Qaida is by his side. He is flanked by masked and armed fighters standing in front of four military pickup trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns. Boko Haram has looted many weapons and vehicles including armored cars from Nigeria’s military.
The military has several times claimed to have killed Shekau, and says any new videos are made by a look-alike. But the United States has not removed a $7 million ransom on the head of the extremist leader.
On Oct. 17, Nigeria’s military chief, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, announced that Boko Haram had agreed to an immediate cease-fire to end a 5-year insurgency in which thousands have died and hundreds of thousands have been driven from homes in northeast Nigeria. And government officials said they expected the Chibok girls to be released any day.
But Shekau denies in the video that he has agreed to any truce and says he is dedicated to fighting and dying a martyr’s death to guarantee him a place in paradise.
“You people should understand that we only obey Allah, we tread the path of the Prophet. We hope to die on this path … Our goal is the garden of eternal bliss,” he says.
If nothing else, this would appear to indicate that peaceful resolution of this matter is out of the question now, although it may be that there is some deal that Boko Haram would agree to that would bring the girls home. Whether the government would be willing or able to meet the terms of that deal is, of course, an entirely different question. For the moment, though, it appears that these young women will remain out of reach.