Fears for the fate of more than 200 Nigerian girls turned even more nightmarish Monday when the leader of the Islamist militant group that kidnapped them announced plans to sell them.
“I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah,” a man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video first obtained by Agence France-Presse.
“There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women,” he continued, according to a CNN translation from the local Hausa language.
Boko Haram is a terrorist group receiving training from al Qaeda affiliates, according to U.S. officials. Its name means “Western education is sin.” In his nearly hourlong, rambling video, Shekau repeatedly called for Western education to end.
“Girls, you should go and get married,” he said.
The outrageous threat means the girls’ parents’ worst fears could be realized. Parents have avoided speaking to the media for fear their daughters may be singled out for reprisals.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the video “does appear legitimate.”
The tape won’t intimidate or deter Nigeria from efforts to save the kidnapped girls, the Nigerian government said.
“It is disheartening that someone would make such a terrible boast,” Doyin Okupe, spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan, said in an interview with CNN.
“It is to be expected of terrorists,” he added. “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.”
On Sunday, Jonathan vowed, “Wherever these girls are, we’ll get them out.”
SOURCE: Aminu Abubakar and Josh Levs