Nigerian kidnapped girls 'in good health, well fed'

2014-07-08 11:40
A screengrab taken from a video released by Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram obtained by AFP shows girls wearing the full-length hijab. (AFP)

A screengrab taken from a video released by Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram obtained by AFP shows girls wearing the full-length hijab. (AFP)

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Boko Haram is not a new problem in Nigeria - expert

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Cape Town – An audio report has emerged where a member of Nigerian militants Boko Haram says the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the group in April are in "good health" and are "well fed".

In an interview with the BBC World Service radio, the man who described himself as a teacher and scholar within Boko Haram said the freedom of the girls could, however, only be achieved if President Goodluck Jonathan's administration agreed to release its members.

Listen to the audio piece here.

"Yes, we want the Nigerian government to release our members. Today if the government releases our member, tomorrow or the next day, we promise you can see all of them. Sure," the man is heard saying in a disguised voice as he requested to remain anonymous.

More than 200 schoolgirls were snatched from the north-eastern village of Chibok, near the Cameroon border, on 14 April.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau indicated in a video in May that he could release the girls in exchange for militant fighters in custody in Nigerian jails.

But Jonathan's government has remained adamant there will be no negotiation that involves a swap.

The Islamist teacher said the girls were abducted for a specific reason and that was to pass a message across to the ruling government.

He said the girls were treated equally despite some of them refusing to convert into Islam.

'There is no force in Islam'

"They don't have a problem. Some of them believe in Islam, some of them say they will not convert into Islam. But... we treat them equally... beause Allah commands us to treat them equally...There is no force in Islam," he said.

Reports indicate that more than 1 000 people have been killed by the militants this year alone.

President Jonathan insists he has a strategy to fight the radical sect. For security reasons he won't disclose how.

Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan. (File: AFP)

Boko Haram, seen as the main security threat to Africa's biggest economy and top oil producer, has killed thousands since launching an uprising in 2009.

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