Nigeria’s Islamist group Boko Haram released a video this morning in which it has deliberately paraded some of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls they have been holding hostage since 2014.
Kidnaped girls wearing headscarves can clearly be seen behind the militant who demanded the release of fighters in return for freeing the girls.
The militant also alleged that the air strikes the government has launched at them killed some of the girls.
It is believed that Boko haram is holding more than 200 women on top of the group’s 276 Chibok girls it seized in the northern town of Nigeria in April 2014.
Non-Muslims were forcibly converted to Islam, and it is feared that many of the schoolgirls have been sexually abused and forced into “marriage” by their captors.
A leading member of the Bring Back Our Girls movement who campaigns for their release told reporters after watching the video that she was terrified by what she had seen.
“Everybody should be disturbed by the conditions of the girls,” Aisha Yesufu said.
The video begins with a shot of a masked man, carrying a gun, speaking to the camera. He says that some of the girls have been wounded and have life-threatening injuries, and that 40 have been “married”.
Speaking in the Hausa language, the gunman says the girls on display will “never” be returned if the government does not release Boko Haram fighters who have been “in detention for ages”.
The video concludes with footage of bodies, said to be the victims of air strikes, lying on the ground at another location.
The militant also carries out a staged interview with one of the captives, who calls herself Maida Yakubu, in which she asks parents to appeal to the government.
Esther and mother of Maida, is one of several parents of Chibok girls who recently published open letters to their daughters detailing the pain they feel at their children’s absence and their hopes for the future.
Another girl among those standing in the background can be seen with a baby. Some of the girls can also be seen weeping as Maida speaks.