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Nigeria's extremist leader threatens to sell kidnapped schoolgirls

Published:Monday | May 5, 2014 | 11:59 AM

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP):

Nigeria's Islamic extremist leader Abubakar Shekau has claimed responsibility for the April 15 mass abduction more than 300 teenage schoolgirls in the remote northeast three weeks ago.




In a new videotape received today, Shekau is threatening to sell the more than 300 teenage schoolgirls



He threatened to attack more schools and abduct more girls.



"I abducted your girls," said the leader of Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sinful."



He described the girls as "slaves" and said "By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace." The hour-long video starts with fighters lofting automatic rifles and shooting in the air as they chant "Allahu akbar!" or "God is great."



It was unclear if the video was made before or after reports emerged last week that some of the girls have been forced to marry their abductors — who paid a nominal bride price of $12 — and that others have been carried into neighboring Cameroon and Chad. Those reports could not be verified.



In the video, Shekau also says the students "will remain slaves with us." That appears a reference to the ancient jihadi custom of enslaving women captured in a holy war, who then can be used as sex slaves.



"They are slaves and I will sell them because I have the market to sell them," he said, speaking in the Hausa language of northern Nigeria.



The video was reviewed by The Associated Press and both the face and the voice of the leader of Boko Haram were recognizable.



Shekau brushed off warnings that the abductions could be an international crime, saying in English, as if to reach his accusers in the international community: "What do you know about human rights? You're just claiming human rights (abuses), but you don't know what it is."



An intermediary who has said Boko Haram is ready to negotiate ransoms for the girls also said two of the girls have died of snakebite and about 20 are ill. He said Christians among the girls have been forced to convert to Islam. The man, an Islamic scholar, spoke on condition of anonymity because his position is sensitive.



Nigeria's police have said more than 300 girls were abducted. Of that number, 276 remain in captivity and 53 escaped.



The mass abduction and the military's failure to rescue the girls and young women has roused national outrage with protests in major cities. Protesters accused President Goodluck Jonathan of being insensitive to the girl's plight.



First lady Patience Jonathan fueled anger Monday when a leader of a protest march said she ordered the arrests of two protest leaders, expressed doubts there was any kidnapping and accused the protest leaders of belonging to Boko Haram.



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