The Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaign group which has been pushing for the rescue of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in April 2014, says it has identified “several of the girls” in a video released by the Islamist group on Sunday.
The AFP news agency quotes a spokesperson for the group Abubakar Abdullahi as saying that at least 10 of the girls have been identified but said they would not immediately release the names of the girls.
“Today, 853 days since the abduction of our #ChibokGirls, we woke up to a video on the state of our girls. We are left with mixed feelings of grief and strengthened hope as the chilling words continue to sink in,” the group said in a statement.
BBOG which said it had recognised “several of the girls” in the video, said the recognition “leaves no room for doubt that these are our girls”.
In an 11-minute video from the militant group posted online, a gunman in military uniform with a scarf covering most of his face said the girls would “never” be returned if the Nigerian government did not release the Boko Haram fighters who have been held in detention “for ages”.
According to him, “forty of these girls have been married according to the will of Allah,” adding that “others were killed in aerial bombardments,” the AFP reports.
One of the girls, identified by the group in their statement as Dorcas Yakubu made a passionate appeal for their rescue.
“Our parents please exercise patience. We are suffering here. There is no kind of suffering we haven’t seen. Our sisters are injured, some have wounds on their heads and bodies.
“Tell the government to give them their people so we can also come to be with you. We are all children and we don’t know what to do. The suffering is too much, please endeavour as we also have exercised patience,” the girl said.
“There is nothing you, or we, can do about this but to get their people back to them, so we can go home. Exercise patience as we also have endured,” Dorcas added.
“After listening to the call of Dorcas Yakubu” the BBOG statement said, “we demand an immediate, transparent, action and results-oriented response plan by the Government”.
It also said it would not tolerate any further excuses stressing that “we shall press these demands with a march to the Villa in the next few days”.
Meanwhile, Yakubo Kabo who has confirmed that the girl who spoke in the video was his daughter told the Reuters news agency that he was happy “because since the abduction of those girls, I didn’t see my girl in those videos, past videos that has been passed, but when I saw her, I’m really.. I’m very happy” adding that he’ll be “able to sleep today”.
At least some 218 girls remain in the custody of Boko Haram and the Bring Back Our Girls group says that is a failure on the part of the Buhari administration.
“They rode on the fact that the Chibok girls were missing. They rode on the fact that it was a national disaster and we all talked about it. They blamed us for it.But guess what, this administration has been on for one year and 3 months. Yet the same girls on which they based their campaign are still missing, that is our definition of failure,” said Bukky Shonibare, a member of the group.
Nigeria’s Information Minister, Lai Mohammed has however given the assurance that the government “was on top of the situation” to free the girls.
Bring Back Our Girls has meanwhile repeated its call for international support to rescue the girls.
“28 months since the abduction, we call on the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, China, Australia, Israel, agencies like the United Nations and African Union, and all who previously expressed intentions to support the rescue efforts, to reengage and adopt a strategic rescue position. As global citizens, this is the least our #ChibokGirls deserve”.
In May, one of the girls, Amina Ali was rescued in the Sambisa forest, a known hub for the militant group, by a combined team of military and local vigilante group.