Boko Haram Leader Offers To Exchange Nigerian Girls For Imprisoned Terrorists; #BringBackOurGirls

Scott Rutherford

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau recently released a video in which he offered to free the 220 Nigerian girls held by his Islamic terrorist organization - whose name means "Western education is sin" - in exchange for the freedom of all militant prisoners associated with the terrorist organization.

Abubakar Shekau speaks for 17 minutes on the video before he shows footage of the abducted Nigerian girls praying. He claims that all of the kidnapped Nigerian girls- whom he is still threatening to sell into slavery if his demands are not met - have converted to Islam. All of the girls were dressed in full hijab, the traditional dress of Muslim women in the region. The video features three of the girls, all of whom claim (in the presence of their captors) to either be Muslim or to have converted to Islam. One of the Nigerian girls claimed that the terrorists have not harmed them.

All over the world, people - including celebrities like Angelina Jolie and First Lady Michelle Obama, have lent their voices to the efforts to demand that Boko Haram release the girls and that the Nigerian government step up its efforts to rescue them in a campaign titled #BringBackOur Girls.

A CNN report quotes Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau's initial threat regarding the kidnapped Nigerian girls:

"I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah. There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women."

The Nigerian government has said that it will do everything within its power to free the Nigerian girls from their terrorist captors, but has been hesitant to accept aid from the U.S. or other western countries. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan indicated that he would be willing to accept help from Israel, however.

A Yahoo! News report quotes President Jonathan saying that he is "...very optimistic that with the entire international community deploying its considerable military and intelligence-gathering skills and assets in support of Nigeria's efforts … success will soon be achieved."

In the meanwhile, according to a report in the Huffington Post, French President Francois Holland has offered to host a summit about the kidnapped Nigerian girls and how to best deal with the Islamic terrorist group Bobo Haram on Saturday, featuring the leaders of Nigeria and neighboring countries Benin, Cameroon and Chad. The summit will likely also include leaders from the United States, European Union and Great Britain.

What do you think? Should the Nigerian and other governments free Boko Haram terrorist prisoners in exchange for the Nigerian girls or should they continue to seek military or other options to try to #BringBackOurGirls?

[Image Via Bing]