Boko Haram claims responsibility for the abduction of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls

Hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped on April 14 after a group of Islamist militants stormed a secondary school while students were taking their final exams.
By Aileen Graef  |  May 5, 2014 at 2:44 PM
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CHIBOK, Nigeria, May 5 (UPI) -- A man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility Monday for the abduction of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls and vowed to sell them.

The video is the first definite confirmation that Boko Haram -- whose name is usually translated as "Western education is forbidden" -- is the culprit behind the kidnappings.

"I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah," said a man who is allegedly Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in the video. "There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women."

There were claims made by civic organizations that the girls were already being sold to their captors for marriage for as little as $12 per person after being trafficked across the border into neighboring Chad and Cameroon. Those claims have not been confirmed.

The lukewarm search for the missing girls has been a source of frustration for the families of the victims and the people of Nigeria. The Twitter campaign #BringBackOurGirls has been trending and was part of a larger protest to spur government action on finding and rescuing the abducted students. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said Sunday the government will rescue them.

"We promise that wherever these girls are, we'll surely get them out. One good thing that made me happy and I believe most Nigerians are happy is that there is no story that any of them have been hurt in terms of injured or dead."

U.S Secretary of State John Kerry pledged U.S. support in finding the girls on Saturday.

"Let me be clear: the kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime and we will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes."

Kerry also said that the U.S. will help strengthen Nigerian institutions and military.

Abuja police said they are leaving "no stone unturned" in the search for the missing girls.

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