BY MICHELLE FAUL, ASSOCIATED PRESS
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — A new video from Nigeria’s Boko Haram terrorist network purports to show dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in hijab and praying in Arabic.
It is the first public sight of the girls since more than 300 were kidnapped from a northeastern school the night of April 14 – exactly four weeks ago.
Families have said most girls abducted are Christians but the about 100 shown under a tree in the video recite Muslim prayers in Arabic. Many are barefoot. Some appear fearful, others desolate.
Fifty-three escaped by themselves and 276 are missing, police say.
The video received Monday by The Associated Press came through channels that have provided previous messages from Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who speaks in the video in the Hausa language of northern Nigeria. He is shown in military fatigues cradling an assault rifle on the video that is imprinted with the Boko Haram insignia of a Quran resting on two crossed assault rifles and below the black Jihadi flag.
The United States put a $7 million ransom on Shekau’s head last year.
The mass abductions and failure of Nigeria’s government and military to rescue them has aroused national and international outrage. Last week Nigeria belatedly accepted offers of help from the United States, Britain and others.