The leader of the Boko Haram terrorist group, Abubakar Shekau, has in a new video denied a claim by the Nigerian government that a ceasefire deal was reached with the group, insisting that kidnapped schoolgirls have converted to Islam and ‘married off’.
- Shekau denied the ceasefire deal claims in a new video
- Says the Boko Haram group has not negotiated with anyone
- He insists girls have been married off
- Shekau says the group will not negotiate
- He says he does not know Dannladi – the negotiator
The over 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped in April from their school dormitory in Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State in north-east Nigeria.
Shekau made the remarks in a video obtained by the AFP news agency on Friday.
“Don’t you know the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls have converted to Islam? They have now memorised two chapters of the Koran,” he said.
“We have married them off. They are in their marital homes,” he added.
In a previous statement the group’s leader threatened to sell the girls as slave brides and also suggested that he would be prepared to release them in exchange for Boko Haram prisoners held at different detention centres across Nigeria.
We will not negotiate
Shekau also said the group was holding a German national and denied they had agreed to a ceasefire, describing the Nigerian government statement as a lie. He also appeared to rule out future talks.
The video comes after an announcement of a ceasefire deal was by Nigerian military and presidency on October 17.
A senior presidential aide to President Goodluck Jonathan also said that an agreement had been reached to free the schoolgirls, whose abduction sparked a global campaign for their release.
There was immediate scepticism about both claims because of previous assertions of ceasefires and the identity of the purported Boko Haram envoy at the supposed talks, Danladi Ahmadu.
Violence and fresh kidnappings have continued unabated since the announcement, including a triple bombing of a bus station in the northern city of Gombe on Friday that killed at least eight.
The continued attacks had led to doubts that the deal was reached with the genuine leaders of the Boko Haram terrorist group seeking an Islamic state and an end to western education.
A bomb attack in Gombe on Friday left over 7 persons dead and over 30 injured.
Nigeria’s government maintains that talks are ongoing in the Chadian capital, Ndjamena.
But Shekau, dressed in military fatigues and boots with a black turban, and flanked by 15 armed fighters, said: “We have not made ceasefire with anyone…”
“We did not negotiate with anyone… It’s a lie. It’s a lie. We will not negotiate. What is our business with negotiation? Allah said we should not.”
He also said he did not know Danladi.
There was no indication of when or where the video was shot but it was obtained through the same channels as previous communications from the group.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report this week that Boko Haram was holding upwards of 500 women and young girls and that forced marriage was commonplace in the group’s camps.
Few months ago, the military claimed it had killed the leader of the Boko Haram group, insisting that the person that appeared in a video released after weeks of claims of killing him was not Shekau.