A new video released by Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram reportedly shows some of the schoolgirls who were kidnapped from Chibok by the militants in 2014, and is said to be the first sighting and "proof of life" of at least some of the 200 abducted girls. Boko Haram reportedly released the video to the Nigerian government Tuesday, just ahead of the second anniversary of the mass kidnappings April 14.
About 15 girls seen in the video — dressed in hijabs and speaking in the Hausa language of Nigeria as well as in Kibaku, the local Chibok language — identified themselves as students of the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok that was attacked by the militants. The parents of three of the girls recognised their daughters, according to Reuters. While they claim they are being treated well by the Boko Haram militants, the girls urged the Nigerian government to cooperate with the group to facilitate their release.
"They were definitely our daughters ... all we want is for the government to bring back our girls," Yana Galang, who identified her daughter in the video along with some other girls, told Reuters.
The Boko Haram abduction of 276 schoolgirls from Nigeria's Chibok in April 2014 had sparked international outrage and set off a global campaign called "#bringbackourgirls," which saw the likes of U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama participate. While 57 students had managed to escape from the Boko Haram, the fate and whereabouts of the other girls was not known. Fears were raised earlier the Boko Haram had pushed the girls into slavery or forced them to convert to Islam and marry the jihadists. Concerns were also echoed about the girls being used as female suicide bombers, a practice the group has come to be infamous for.
The new Boko Haram video comes just weeks after a video released by the group last month showed its leader Abubakar Shekau for the first time in months, and suggested a possible change in leadership at a time the terror group is facing heavy losses in the fight against security forces.
"For me the end has come. This is only the message I want to send to you for you to understand that this is certainly I. This is why I did this," Shekau said in the video.
The Boko Haram was last year described as the "deadliest" terrorist group by the Global Terrorism Index, responsible for more deaths than even the brutal Islamist State group that it pledged allegiance to.