In a new video released on Friday, Boko Haram’s leader claims the 219 kidnapped schoolgirls who remain hostages of the Islamist group had converted to Islam and were married off. The group also denied Nigerian claims that a ceasefire had been agreed.
In a new video obtained by AFP, the Islamist group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, denied claims by Nigeria’s government that it had agreed to a ceasefire and apparently ruled out any future talks on the release of the girls.
Shekau also said the Islamists were holding a German national, who was kidnapped in Adamawa state in northeast Nigeria in July.
Some 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped from the remote northeast town of Chibok in Borno state in April, sending Boko Haram – whose five-year insurgency in northern Nigeria has claimed an estimated 13,000 lives – into the international spotlight.
The new video comes after a surprise announcement by the Nigerian military and presidency on October 17 that a deal had been reached with the militants to end hostilities and return the kidnapped children.
There was immediate scepticism about both claims. Previous ceasefires have proved fruitless and there is little faith in the influence of the purported envoy to Boko Haram, Danladi Ahmadu.