According to a YouTube video, a member of the Boko Haram group who abducted 200 Nigerian girls last month has agreed to release the school girls in exchange for the release of prisoners.
The girls were kidnapped by members of Boko Haram while they were taking exams. The Nigerian government, as well as other governments including the United States, are working to bring the girls back.
In a 1.25 minute clip of the video on YouTube, scores of girls in black and grey veils sit on the ground and chant, before Shekau, wearing military fatigues and holding an AK-47, addresses the camera. He appears confident and at one point laughs.
“All I am saying is that if you want us to release the girls that we have kidnapped, those who have not accepted Islam will be treated as the Prophet (Mohammed) treated infidels and they will stay with us,” he said, according to a translation of his words originally spoken in a Nigerian language. “We will not release them while you detain our brothers,” he said, before naming a series of cities in Nigeria. It was not clear whether he was in the same location as the girls.
The government is considering all options towards freeing the girls. Authorities are holding hundreds of suspected Boko Haram militants.
There have been several break out attempts. Suspected members of the Boko Haram regime overpowered guards at a prison near the presidential villa in March, triggering an exchange of ammunition which killed 21 people.
We will continue to update this story as it develops.
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