Abducted Katsina schoolboys appear in new Boko Haram video

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Recently abducted students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State, have appeared in a video released by the Abubakar Shekau-led faction of Boko Haram on Thursday.

In the six minutes 30 seconds video, the boys cried out for help revealing that some of them have been killed.

They pleaded with the government to respond to the demands of the terrorists, including paying ransom so they could be set free.

The students of the all-boys boarding secondary school were abducted last Friday, 11th December, after the terrorists stormed their school in the middle of the night, broke its gate, shot sporadically, and gathered the boys, claiming to be security operatives.

In the newly released video, the abductors showed the boys, with some of them crying, and claimed that they were in good health.

One of the boys who spoke in both English and Hausa said they were 520 in number but some of them were killed because the government sent troops to rescue them.

He urged the Federal Government to settle amicably with their abductors and advised against the use of military force in rescuing them. A voice behind the camera could be heard telling the pupil what to say.

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“We have been caught by the gangs of Abu Shekau; some of us were killed,” the distraught student said.

At least dozens of other young boys could be seen gathered close to him, all covered in dust and appearing to be within a forest area. A young member of the terrorist group stood in their midst wearing a military uniform, including a face mask, and wielding an assault rifle.

The abductors in the video said they kidnapped the students because the government refused to stop killing and arresting Fulani criminals.

“We did this because you refused to stop killing and arresting Fulani,” one of them said.

The young student then pleaded with the government to stop attacking the terrorists.

“All the armies that you sent here can do nothing to them,” he said.

He added that that government should “dissolve vigilante gangs and close down all types of schools, excluding Islamiyya [Qur’anic schools]”.

Shekau speaks

The leader of the Jama’atu Ahlussunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, spoke at the end of the video saying he was happy with the operation.

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He said many people thought he was lying when he claimed responsibility for the schoolboys’ abduction. Shekau said he would not add anything since sceptics could now see the boys by themselves.

“Even if I didn’t say anything, here are my people speaking and here are your boys speaking too,” he said.

Boko Haram had earlier claimed responsibility for the abductions, which is the group’s most daring attack outside its stronghold in the Northeast.

The same faction of Boko Haram had in 2014 abducted 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State. Since then, only 164 have been freed while 112 others remain missing.

It is widely believed that millions of naira were expended by the Nigerian government to secure the release of the schoolgirls.

Following this pattern, it is expected that the group will soon make specific demands for money and ask to swap the abducted students for some of its detained members.

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