The leader of Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group responsible for kidnapping hundreds schoolgirls from their Nigerian boarding school, has vowed the girls will be sold.
Between 200 and 300 teenagers were kidnapped at gunpoint from their school in mid-April by Boko Haram, which opposes education for women and girls. Some of the girls managed to escape; the rest were hauled into the woods, where they have been held ever since. Relatives of the girls have been claiming the girls are being sold as sex slaves, which Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau all but confirmed.
In a video message, Skekau took responsibility for the kidnapping. According to the AFP, he said, ”Western education should end. Girls, you should go and get married. I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah.” No one quite knows where the girls are located right now, but they are reportedly being sold to religious extremists and trafficked to Chad and Cameroon, neighboring countries in Africa.
According to the UK’s Channel 4 news, three of the girls have already died and over a dozen others are sick.
The Nigerian government and military, as well as the international community have been slow to respond. Last week, according to Channel 4, the Nigerian government admitted that it was using a negotiator to communicate with Boko Haram. Still, Nigeria is reportedly embarrassed by its ineffectualness to find and release the girls, especially as it is hosting a World Economic Forum for Africa event later this week.
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[Image via Twitter.com/KhaledBeydoun]