A LEADER of a militant Islamist group of has taken responsibility for the kidnapping of more than 200 teenage girls abducted from a Nigerian school two weeks ago.
The statement came as suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped eight more girls, aged 12 to 15, from a village near one of their strongholds in north-east Nigeria.
An Islamic scholar acting as an intermediary between the Islamic group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government said the militant Islamist group has converted the Christians among the 200 girls and is selling them into marriage.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, in a statement, said the girls should not have been in school, but wed. He continued:
“God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions.”
“I abducted your girls,” said the leader of Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful.”
“By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace,” he said in the hour-long video that starts with fighters lofting automatic rifles and shooting in the air as they chant “Allahu akbar!” or “God is great.”
It was unclear if the video was made before or after reports emerged last week that some of the girls have been forced to marry their abductors — who paid a nominal bride price of $12 — and that others have been carried into neighboring Cameroon and Chad. Those reports could not be verified.
An intermediary who has said Boko Haram is ready to negotiate ransoms for the girls also said two of the girls have died of snakebite and about 20 are ill. He said Christians among the girls have been forced to convert to Islam. The man, an Islamic scholar, spoke on condition of anonymity because his position is sensitive.
Nigeria’s police have said more than 300 girls were abducted. Of that number, 276 remain in captivity and 53 escaped.
The mass abduction and the military’s failure to rescue the girls and young women has roused national outrage with protests in major cities. Protesters accused President Goodluck Jonathan of being insensitive to the girl’s plight