With a malevolent laugh, the leader of Nigeria's Islamic extremists tells the world that more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls have all been converted to Islam and married off, dashing hopes for their freedom.
|Abubakar Shekau Head of Boko Haram |
revels in his role of butchering and terrorizing people
In a new video released late Friday night, the Boko Haram leader also denies there is a cease-fire with the Nigerian government and threatens to kill an unidentified German hostage. "Don't you know we are still holding your German hostage (who is) always crying," he taunts. "If we want, we will hack him or slaughter him or shoot him."
"You people should understand that we only obey Allah, we tread the path of the Prophet. We hope to die on this path (we hope so too, soon)... Our goal is the garden of eternal bliss," he says. You've got such a surprise coming. Your father, the Devil has deceived you into thinking you are working for God, but you are not, you are working for Satan and you will be rewarded with Satan's reward.
He said Boko Haram is interested only in "battle, hitting, striking and killing with the gun, which we look forward to like a tasty meal," he said.
"The issue of the girls is long forgotten because I have long ago married them off," Shekau says with a chortle. Unfortunately, it is likely that Shekau couldn't return all the girls if he wanted to. There is a very good likelihood that some are dead, either from refusing to convert, trying to escape, being uncooperative, or disease. More are likely to die in childbirth early next year as they give birth in the forest.
Anyone who doesn't believe that evil exists as an entity needs to revisit that concept.
Families of the 219 schoolgirls held for more than six months by Boko Haram militants said they were shocked but not surprised at fresh claims that the teenagers had been married off.
The head of the Chibok Elders Forum in the northeast Nigerian town, Pogo Bitrus, told AFP: "It (the claim about marriage) is shocking to us, although we know that Boko Haram is not a reliable group.
"We were skeptical about the talks to release our girls and we never took the ceasefire seriously because since the announcement, they have never stopped attacking communities.
"Therefore the information that our girls have been married off is not surprising to us," said Bitrus, whose four nieces are among the hostages.
"We are only hoping the government will step up whatever efforts it is making to quell the insurgency." That's not asking for much. Doing anything would be a step up. However, as it stands, there is virtually no hope of the girls returning any time soon. Perhaps we should be shifting focus to include the other 300 to 800 girls abducted by Boko Haram.
We should also be working very hard to remove the entire government and most of the military leaders. Perhaps it's time for people to demand that political, military, business leaders, and the media tell the truth with serious consequences for lying.
Perhaps it's time for the people to demand that UN auditors investigate where Nigeria's oil money disappears to. If even a small portion of that money had been invested in the northeast, Boko Haram would never have come into existence.
|Protestors march by shouting slogans under the ''Bring back our girls'' |
campaign for the missing Nigerian schoolgirls.
His latest claim that they were now all Muslims and had been "married off" chimes with testimony from former hostages that forced conversion and marriage are commonplace in Boko Haram camps.
Human Rights Watch said in a report published this week that upwards of 500 women and girls have been kidnapped since 2009, although some estimates put the figure at more than 1,000.
Enoch Mark, a Christian pastor in Chibok whose daughter and niece are among the hostages, said the girls' families were "lost for words".
"Since they were kidnapped we have no certainty about the situation they are in. We keep getting conflicting information," he added.
They were "ironically lucky" that world attention has focused on the Chibok girls, he added, but said their situation was part of a wider issue.
"Only God knows the number of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram," he said.
"We only keep hoping that they will be returned to us and if they are not we take solace in God."