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Boko Haram claims to have German hostage

November 1, 2014

Militant group Boko Haram is reportedly holding a German hostage who was kidnapped in July. The group's leader has also claimed that a report of a ceasefire with the Nigerian government was a "lie."

Nigeria Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau Archiv
Image: picture alliance/AP Photo

Nigerian militant group Boko Haram claims to be holding a German hostage who was kidnapped from the state of Adamawa in northeastern Nigeria earlier this summer.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau made the announcement in a video obtained by news agency Agence France Presse. Shekau reportedly claims in the video that his group is "holding your German hostage."

The kidnapping occurred on July 16 in the town of Gombi in northeastern Nigeria, where the German national was reportedly a teacher at a government training center. The German Foreign Ministry has thus far refused to comment on the video.

The news comes after two Germans who were working in Nigeria for the construction company Julius Berger came under attack by gunmen on October 24. One was shot dead and the other taken hostage and later released.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was in Nigeria just this past week to conduct talks with government and business leaders.

Shekau claims no ceasefire

Nigeria Boko Haram soll offenbar entführte Mädchen freilassen
Violence and additional kidnappings have repeatedly overshadowed negotiations for the release of more than 200 abducted Nigerian schoolgirlsImage: Reuters/A. Sotunde

The new video emerges as violence continues to cast doubt over ceasefire negotiations between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram, which has been leading a violent uprising in northern Nigeria since 2009.

The Nigerian government says negotiations are taking place to secure the release of more than 200 schoolgirls whose abduction last spring from the town of Chibok sparked international outrage.

But Shekau reportedly claims in the video that earlier claims of a ceasefire between Boko Haram and the government are false, and that the schoolgirls had converted to Islam and been married off.

"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," AFP reported Shekau as saying.

"We have married [the girls] off. They are in their marital homes," Shekau reportedly says in the video while laughing.

Nigeria for its part maintains that it is conducting ceasefire negotiations and discussions to release the kidnapped girls in neighboring Chad with supposed Boko Haram envoy, Danladi Ahmadu. Shekau allegedly says in the video that he does not know Danladi.

Violence continues

Meanwhile, a triple bombing of a bus station in the city of Gombe on Friday killed at least eight people and wounded 41. It is not yet clear if the attacks were carried out by Boko Haram, though the group has targeted commuters in the past.

Boko Haram's insurgency has been characterized by a brutal campaign of bombings and shootings targeting Christian churches, Muslim mosques, schools, markets, bars, villages, police stations and a UN building. An estimated 5,000 Nigerians have been killed and a further 300,000 displaced by the violence.

Angriff von Boko Haram im nordöstlichen Stadt Konduga nahe Maiduguri / Nigeria
Thousands of Nigerians have been killed as a result of the Boko Haram uprisingImage: dpa

In 2013, the Nigerian government declared a state of emergency in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. Amnesty International has accused the Nigerian military of war crimes, including extrajudicial killings, in its fight against Boko Haram. The United Nations and Human Rights Watch have also alleged that Nigeria's security forces have committed human rights abuses.

Nigeria's population of 177 million is 50 percent Muslim and 40 percent Christian. Muslims are concentrated in the north and Christians in the south.

bw/jm (AFP, dpa)