The leader of the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram admits for the first time that his group is responsible for the abduction of over 200 school girls in Borno State, Nigeria, three weeks ago.
He said on a video released yesterday: “I will sell the women in the market, they should not have been in school in the first place.
“Allah has instructed me to sell them. They are his property and I will carry out his instructions,” he says.
(Watch the full video here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/may/06/boko-haram-sell-girls-market-video )
The Whitehouse has responded to the video, saying it is an “outrage” and a “terrible tragedy”. White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama has is being briefed as his national security team monitor any developments.
Both the Untied States and Britain have condemned the abduction of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls and have offered help in finding the girls but no specifics have been given.
Nigeria’s finance minister has defended the government’s response to the incident and told the BBC the following: “For the past few weeks the government has been following up every lead.
“I think the problem was that we never communicated it well.”
The failure of the Nigerian military to find the missing girls has drawn international attention to an escalating uprising of Islamic extremism that has killed more than 1,500 in the country this year.
The hashtag #BringBackOurGirls has been trending on twitter and public figures like Hilary Clinton and Winnie Mandela have used the social media platform to also raise awareness of the missing girls.
The United Nations warned Islamist Boko Haram that there is an ‘“absolute prohibition against slavery and sexual slavery in international law” and under certain circumstances they can constitute as crimes against humanity.
The kidnapping occurred on the day a bomb blast, also blamed on Boko Haram, killed 75 people on the edge of Abuja, the first attack on the capital in two years.
In a televised “media chat” on Sunday, President Jonathan promised that the girls would soon be found and released even though he was unaware of there whereabouts. He said: “Let me reassure the parents and guardians that we will get their daughters out.”
The girls’ abduction has been very embarrassing for the government and threatens to overshadow its first hosting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) for Africa on May 7-9, which was set to highlight Nigeria becoming Africa’s biggest economy.