In a video released Friday night, the leader of Boko Haram dashed any hopes of a prisoner exchange for more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian girls, when he denied a cease-fire and told parents that their daughters have been converted to Islam and married off.
According to this Inquisitr report, the Nigerian government announced that Boko Haram had agreed to a cease-fire in October, and had assured them the girls would be released. But the attacks and abductions have continued, reports NPR.
Human Rights Watch estimated that Boko Haram has kidnapped about 500 young women in the past five years.
Hamidah Amira, whose 17-year-old daughter was among the kidnapped girls, told USA Today, “I was very excited when I heard the news — I will finally reunite with my daughter.”
But when Boko Haram abducted dozens more Nigerian girls and continued their attacks, her hopes began to fade.
In a video released to the Associated Press Friday, the extremist group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, addressed the parents of the abductees, laughing as he said, “The issue of the girls is long forgotten because I have long ago married them off.”
“If you knew the state your daughters are in today, it might lead some of you… to die from grief,” he added.
The video shows the Boko Haram leader with the al-Qaida flag is by his side and flanked by masked, armed fighters, standing in front of military trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns.
Shekau also dismissed the idea of a cease-fire.
“A lie,” he says. “In this war, there is no going back.”
Speaking of the German development worker who was ambushed and kidnapped at gunpoint in July, he said, “Don’t you know we are still holding your German hostage (who is) always crying. If we want, we will hack him or slaughter him or shoot him.”
Shekau says he is dedicated to fighting and dying a martyr’s death to guarantee him a place in paradise.
“You people should understand that we only obey Allah, we tread the path of the Prophet. We hope to die on this path… Our goal is the garden of eternal bliss,” he says.
Analysts are warning that the situation is likely to get worse in the months ahead because of the upcoming 2015 election. President Goodluck Jonathan, who recently announced he would be running for re-election, is coming under increasing scrutiny for the way he is handling the girls’ abductions.
“The Boko Haram issue has been indeed politicized, and I expect it would be further politicized as we get closer to the election,” said Rona Peligal, Human Rights Watch deputy director for the Africa Division.