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17 Dec, 2020 18:30

Video ‘made by Boko Haram’ Islamist fighters claims to show kidnapped Nigerian schoolboys pleading for release

Video ‘made by Boko Haram’ Islamist fighters claims to show kidnapped Nigerian schoolboys pleading for release

A video reportedly made by Boko Haram fighters has been released. It purports to show some of the 300 Nigerian schoolboys kidnapped by the Islamist militant group last week in the northwest of the country.

The six-minute video, published on Thursday by Nigerian news site HumAngle, apparently shows some of the children pleading with the government to free them by paying the ransoms demanded by the terrorists.

In the footage, a visibly upset child says he is among the hundreds of students taken by the Boko Haram group led by Abubakar Shekau, who oversaw the 2014 kidnapping of at least 200 schoolgirls in the Nigerian town of Chibok.

Speaking in both English and the local language Hausa, the boy goes on to claim that some of the abducted children have been killed by Nigerian soldiers, and that other troops sent to rescue them should be sent back.

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Dozens of children can be seen in the background of the footage, shot in a wooded area, and some appear to be crying.

Militants armed with AK-47s entered the town of Kankara in Katsina state on December 11, before storming the Government Science Secondary School, firing shots and abducting the boys, in an attack claimed by Boko Haram.

At least 337 students remain unaccounted for, Katsina’s Governor Aminu Masari said on Thursday.

A parent and school employee said at the time of the attack that around half of the 800 pupils were missing.

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Speaking about the abduction of the boys on Monday, Masari said that Nigerian intelligence had “located their position” and that President Muhammadu Buhari had been briefed on rescue efforts.

“The abductors of our children have made contacts with the government and talks are ongoing to ensure their safety and return to their respective families,” he said in a tweet.

In recent years, Nigeria’s northwest region has been blighted by violence involving Boko Haram and other groups, with 8,000 people killed since 2011, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank.

Thursday’s video has not been verified, and there has not yet been any comment about it from the Nigerian Armed Forces or President Buhari.

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