Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has released a video apparently showing recent footage of dozens of school girls kidnapped two years ago, and saying some of them have been killed in air strikes.
“We want to send this message first to the parents of these girls for them to know that these girls are still with us, some of them, and secondly they should tell the Federal Government of Nigeria to, with immediate effect, release our imprisoned brothers,” Reuters quoted a masked armed man in camouflage uniform as saying in the video, which the news agency saw on Sunday.
“Some of the girls, about 40 of them with God’s permission have been married, some of them have died as a result of bombing by the infidels,” he said.
Boko Haram seized more than 270 girls from their school in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, in April 2014, part of a seven-year-old insurgency to set up an Islamic state in the north that has killed some 15,000 people and displaced more than two million, the news agency said.
Dozens of the girls managed to flee to safety in the initial melee, but more than 200 are still missing.
One veiled girl could be seen holding a baby. Parents have accused Boko Haram of having married off some of the girls against their will.
At the end of the video unidentified bodies could be seen on the ground.
“Military jets have killed some of the girls,” said one of the girls, who was identified by her father, Yakubu Kabu, as his daughter called Dorcas.
“When I heard her voice, I realize she is my daughter,” he told reporters in Abuja. “We are pleading with the government to help… The children are suffering. Some of them could be very sick.”
Information Minister Lai Mohammed said in a statement the government “was on top of the situation” to free the girls.
“Since this is not the first time we have been contacted over the issue, we want to be doubly sure that those we are in touch with are who they claim to be,” he said.
Army spokesman Rabe Abubakar was quoted as saying by PR Nigeria, an official government agency, that the military disputed the claims that the air force had hit the girls.
“We are nevertheless studying the video clips to examine if the victims died from other causes rather [than] from the allegation of airstrike,” he said.
Authorities said in May that one of the missing girls had been found and President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to rescue the others.
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