Nigerian Islamist rebel group, Boko Haram has offered to release more than 200 schoolgirls abducted last month in exchange for its prisoners, according to a video posted on YouTube on Monday.
In the video, the authenticity of which is still a subject of investigation, about 100 girls wearing full veils were shown praying in an undisclosed location in a part of the 17-minute video in which Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram leader spoke.
In the video posted on YouTube, scores of girls in black and grey veils sit on the ground while reciting certain portions of the Quran.
Quite unlike what should be obtainable in a hostage video, Shekau was not seen in the video anywhere around the girls. On the contrary, he was seen elsewhere, wearing military fatigues and holding an AK-47 while addressing the camera. He appears confident and at one point even laughs.
According to a translation of his words originally spoken in Hausa, he said, “All I am saying is that if you want us to release the girls that we have kidnapped, those who have not accepted Islam will be treated as the Prophet Mohammed treated infidels and they will stay with us,” he said.
However, Abba Moro, Interior Minister says the Nigerian government will not trade imprisoned Boko Haram extremists for the release of the kidnapped schoolgirls. “As far as this government is concerned, the option of the swap of innocent citizens with people who have taken up arms against the country is not on the table,” he said.