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Nigeria: Boko Haram releases video of kidnapped children

December 17, 2020

Earlier this week, the Islamist militant group said they were responsible for the raid at a school in Katsina state that took place on December 11. Boko Haram have now issued a video in an effort to back up those claims.

A vehicle allegedly belonging to the Islamic State group in West Africa (ISWAP) is seen in Baga on August 2, 2019.
The abductions took place outside what's typically considered Boko Haram's heartlands, prompting concerns of the group's footprint spreadingImage: Audu Ali Marte/AFP/Getty Images

The Boko Haram jihadist group released a video on Thursday claiming to show some of the schoolboys kidnapped in northwestern Nigeria last week.

The video clip, widely circulated on social media, included Boko Haram's emblem and showed the group of boys in a wooded area, pleading with security forces to vacate the area.

A distraught teenager said in English and Hausa that he was among 520 students kidnapped, though officials have previously put the figure at closer to 300. The distressed boy said: "We have been caught by the gang of Abu Shekau," the group's elusive leader, who was behind the 2014 abduction of 276 female pupils in the town of Chibok in Borno State.

Spreading fear

On Tuesday, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the December 11 raid but until now had shown no evidence.

The rural school in the northwestern Katsina state is located hundreds of kilometers from its stronghold in northeastern Nigeria — the birthplace of a brutal decade of insurgency.

Nigerian school
The classroom blocks at the Government Science school in rural northwestern Nigeria, where gunmen abducted the studentsImage: Afolabi Sotunde/REUTERS

If its claims are true, the militant group's involvement in Katsina marks a significant geographical expansion in its activities.

Earlier on Thursday, protesters marched in the state under a banner reading #BringBackOurBoys as pressure mounted on the government to improve security in the region and bring about the release of the students with parents fearing time is running out to save them.

jsi/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)