According to a new video released by the world’s most dangerous terrorist organization, some of the 276 teenage girls kidnapped from a Nigerian boarding school in 2014 have been killed in Nigerian military airstrikes.
Boko Haram posted a disturbing video to Twitter on Sunday in which one of the alleged victims claims that some of her classmates perished in aerial attacks by Nigeria’s military. The girl states that Boko Haram will release the girls if the Nigerian government releases all detained Boko Haram militants. She also claims that 40 of her classmates have been forced to marry Boko Haram fighters:
Oh you, my people and our parents, you just have to please come to our rescue: We are suffering here, the aircraft has come to bombard us and killed many of us. Some are wounded. Every day we are in pains and suffering, so are our babies. Some of our husbands that we married also are injured, some dead. No one cares for us. Please go and beg the government of Nigeria to release the members of our abductors so that they too can free us to let us come home. We are really suffering, there is no food to eat, no good water to drink here.
Yakubu Kabu, the father of one of the missing girls, told CNN that he spotted his daughter in the video. While dozens of the 276 girls taken captive managed to escape within 1-2 days, an estimated 218 remain in captivity.
The grim video also warns Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that the girls will never be seen again if Nigeria uses “force” against Boko Haram. “Presently, some of the girls are crippled, some are terribly sick, and some of them, as I had said, died during bombardment by the Nigerian military,” explains an armed fighter in the Hausa language. “If our members in detention are not freed, let the government and parents of the Chibok girls know that they will never find these girls again.” Behind the speaker, at least 40 young women wearing hijabs and headscarves look to the camera in fear.
The girls are allegedly held captive by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who is currently fighting for power with Abu Musab al-Barnawi, a lieutenant appointed by ISIS to lead the “West Africa Province.” This “split in leadership” has made Nigeria’s efforts to rescue the girls more complicated, explains says Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information of Culture.
“This [the video] is more of a show of strength to the Nigerian government and to ISIS. Shekau wants to show the country and the world that he is fully in charge and that he is the one that should be negotiated with,” says Nigerian Senator Shehu Sani. The fighter in the video also accuses the Nigerian government of lying to the public about its ability to free the kidnapped girls, all of whom are now over 18 years of age.
While Boko Haram may not appear in the headlines as frequently as ISIS, the Nigerian terrorist organization is no joke. As I wrote in a previous article, Boko Haram has been gathering strength in Nigeria for the past seven years. The extremist group has spread into several neighboring countries, has forged an alliance with ISIS, and is responsible for more than half of all global deaths attributed to terrorism.
Despite claims that the Nigerian military had destroyed Boko Haram in July, the terrorist organization seems to be flourishing. Many fear that the combined powers of ISIS and Boko Haram will overwhelm Nigeria, causing a humanitarian crisis that would dwarf the one caused by the civil war in Syria.