President Goodluck Jonathan has reportedly seen a new video released by Boko Haram, where the abducted school girls of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, spoke about their ordeal in the hands of the insurgents for the first time and pleaded with him to secure their release.
The girls were reportedly ill and are in camps located in Chad, Niger and Cameroon, with one of them nursing a broken wrist according to a government negotiators account to The Mail, London-based media.
The footage, not released publicly but seen by the London-based The Mail on Sunday was taken in a jungle clearing a month after their abduction.
The video, according to The Mail of London, indicated that the girls looked healthy, as eight of them, dressed in their home-made school uniforms of pale blue gingham, pleaded for release while standing courageously in front of the camera.
They were reportedly clearly scared, upset and trying to be brave, with each walking in turn to a spot in front of a white sheet fixed to a crude frame between the trees.
According to The Mail, four of the girls can be heard clearly in Hausa language stating that they were taken by force and that they were hungry.
The video indicated that a tall girl, aged about 18, said tearfully that “My family will be so worried”, even as another spoke softly, saying ‘I never expected to suffer like this in my life.”
Similarly, a third girl was captured in the video as saying ‘they have taken us away by force’, while the fourth complained of not getting enough food.
Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, reportedly released the new video of the kidnapped girls praying after their conversion to Islam.
The video, taken by an intermediary on May 19, has been shown to President Goodluck Jonathan and was intended to serve as ‘proof of life’ for the girls and to encourage the President to accede to the terrorists’ demands.
Two earlier videos showed the girls seated on the ground, dressed in hijabs, reciting the Koran,with Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, declaring he would sell them into slavery, or marry them off to their kidnappers, if members of his sect were not released from prison.
The Mail said pressure from the international community and criticism of the President’s slow response to the kidnapping have led to a series of contradictory pronouncements from his government. Ministers have declared they will not negotiate with Boko Haram, or consider the release of prisoners, while official spokesmen have said ‘the window is always open for dialogue’.