•They were killed in Air Force strike, sect alleges in new video •We didn’t kill them —Military •We are in touch with the sect —FG •DHQ declares journalist, 2 others wanted over link with Boko Haram
There was confusion on Sunday as the Boko Haram sect released a video showing that the abducted Chibok girls had been killed by air strikes launched by the Nigerian Air Force on their locations.
The Abubakar Shekau faction of the extremist Boko Haram sect released the new video on Sunday.
The video showed a masked armed man standing in front of several girls, who, he claimed, were the over 200 girls who were abducted from their school hostel at Government Secondary School, Chibok, in 2014.
The man said the video was released to send a message to the parents of the girls to beg the Nigerian government to release Boko Haram members in various detention centres in exchange for the girls.
The man said about 40 of the girls were already married while some were dead.
One of the girls, Maida Yakubu, who spoke in both Hausa and her native language, asked parents to “be patient and beg the government to release their people, so that we will also be released.”
Full transcript of the video is provided below:
“This is a message from the Jama.atu ahlis sunnah lidda awati wal jihad under the leadership of Abu Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Abubakar As- Shekau.
“We are sending a special message to the parents of the Chibok Girls and the Nigerian government.
“We thank God for giving us the opportunity to send this message to the parents of these girls (Pointing at the girls sitting behind him).
“It pleased God to let us have these girls in our captivity for over two years now. Our first message is to the parents of the girls to let them know that their daughters are still with us, some of them.
“I also want to tell them to ask the Nigerian government to release our brethren, especially those in Maiduguri, Lagos and Abuja and other places across Nigeria. They should be released immediately.
“You all knew that we had the girls, but God never allowed you to know their location and you will never know by God’s grace. You keep lying in your media that you will rescue them, they have been with us for over two years, yet you can’t even know where they are. You have just been lying about these girls, people should know that.
“Also, for the over two years that we have been with these girls, about 40 of them are married, some are dead as a result of air strike by infidels. We will show you a video of how your own aircraft dropped a bomb that killed some of these girls. Some of the girls have suffered fractures and other forms of injuries as a result of the air strikes.
“As you can see, these are the girls, all we want is for you to release our brethren, otherwise you will never get these girls God willing. This, in short, is our message to the Federal Government and the parents of the Chibok Girls.
“As long as the government does not release our people, we will also never release these girls, that is our message.
“I specially inform our people in captivity in Lagos that they should be patient and continue with their prayers, God will take us to where no one expects and we will rescue them. All those in Lagos, Maiduguri and other Southern parts of the country. Keep praying, very soon, we will rescue you.
One of the girls is called to speak to her parents and the Federal Government in a Question and Answer format”
What is your name?
My name is Maida Yakubu
Where are you from?
I am from Chibok town
Where were you picked from?
What is the name of the school?
For how long have you been here?
About two years
What message do you have for your parents and the Federal Government of Nigeria?
All I can say is that our (Begins speaking in native language) parents should be patient, beg the government to release their people, so that we can also be released. (Switched to native language).
Most of the girls standing and sitting behind Miss Yakubu were seen fighting tears and using their hijab to hide their emotions.
Armed man takes over.
Let me conclude this message by saying that many people have been coming to us lying that they were sent by the Nigerian government to get the girls released.
Let the government and the whole world know that we have not sent anyone to negotiate with the government on our behalf over these girls.
“We have dealt with you in the past and you know our recommended negotiators.
“If you need to, you should talk to them. We don’t use our own people to negotiate with you, we use your own people such as journalists to talk with you. We have not sent any other persons. You know that we prefer to use journalists known to you.
“Let me say again, release our people and we will release your girls, otherwise, they will never be released. If you think you have the power to come and rescue them, go ahead and try.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, your Army has been lying to you that they have finished us, let them try and see if they can rescue these girls alive.”
Video ends with a flying jet and then some female bodies lying on the ground.
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) is examining the latest video from the Boko Haram group purporting to show some of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls.
The Director, Defence Information, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, disclosed that the military was examining the video clip to verify its authenticity.
He said: “Currently, we are studying the video clips to verify its authenticity and analysing the comments of the speakers in the video, especially the terrorist member and the girl that spoke in mother tongue.”
General Rabe also disputed allegations in the video that some of the kidnapped girls were hit by an air strike.
He said: “It is extremely difficult and rare to hit innocent people during air strike, because the operation is done through precision attack on identified and registered targets and locations. The precision air strike is very effective at taking out targeted enemies because it is not a random operation. We are nevertheless studying the video clips to examine if the victims died from other causes rather from the allegation of air strike.
PRNigeria gathered that the Nigerian Airforce, through its Component in Operation, Lafiya Dole, had focused on sustaining air operations and providing support to ground troops of the Armed Forces’ strive to rid Nigeria of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Air strikes are controlled by professionally trained officers who coordinate the strike with friendly ground troops, after a lot of surveillance to limit casualty on the ground.
A top Air Force officer told PRNigeria that “Nigeria Airforce employs precision guided weapons with modern Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance systems to reduce likely collateral damage from any air strike. All the areas stroke throughout the operation were thoroughly monitored on intelligence surveillance and eye services before the attacks or shelling. Most of the target areas were clearly identified before the air strikes to avoid collateral damages.”
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters has promised to issue an update after its investigation.
However, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Federal Government was doing everything possible to secure the release of the Chibok girls and put an end to the horrible saga of their abduction.
This was contained in a statement issued on Sunday, in Abuja, by Mr Segun Adeyemi, the Special Adviser to the Minister.
The minister, who was reacting to the latest video of some of the girls, said the government was in touch with those purportedly behind the video.
“We are on top of the situation. But we are being extremely careful because the situation has been compounded by the split in the leadership of Boko Haram.
“We are also being guided by the need to ensure the safety of 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 those who they claim to be,” he said.
Mohammed expressed the hope that the latest development would signal the beginning of the end of the nightmare to which the girls, their families and, indeed, all Nigerians, have been subjected since the unfortunate abduction.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army, on Sunday, declared three persons, including a woman, wanted in connection with the over 200 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram since 2014.
They are Ahmed Salkida, Ambassador Ahmed U. Bolori and Aisha Wakil.
According to a statement issued by the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman, the wanted persons had information on the conditions and the exact location of those girls.
“Therefore, the Nigerian Army, hereby, declares the two gentlemen and the lady wanted for interrogation.
“We are relying on the relevant laws of the land, and in particular the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 (as amended) where Nigerians could be punished for failure to disclose information about terrorists or terrorists’ activities.
“This becomes necessary as a result of their link with the last two videos released by the Boko Haram terrorists and other findings of our preliminary investigations.
“There is no doubt that these individuals have links with the Boko Haram terrorists and have contacts with them,” Usmand said.