The Nigerian schoolgirls who were tragically abducted from their boarding school in April will not be coming home anytime soon – at least according to Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, the Islamist terrorist cell responsible for the kidnappings and other violent activity throughout the Northern part of the region.
A couple of weeks ago, media outlets had announced that a ceasefire had been confirmed by the Nigerian government which led to speculation that perhaps the end was near and the more than 200 missing girls were soon to be released.
But in a video that went viral this past Saturday, Shekau mocked the idea that any agreement had been reached, he also went on to demolish any hopes that the girls would be returning to their families, by announcing that they had all converted to Islam and were married off. It is not clear whether there is any truth to Shekau’s claims especially since he appears to be laughing through his statement, but it is pretty evident that President Goodluck Jonathan and his cabinet of advisors have once again dropped the ball and are proving their vulnerability to an erratic madman who is hell-bent on continuing his reign of terror.
Shekau also dismissed the initial reports by the government that he was working out a deal with a negotiator, by verbally threatening the life of the so-called peacemaker.
The authenticity of the video is still being established but in the meantime several attacks have already been levied on villages in the same State where the kidnappings occurred.
The abduction of the schoolgirls sparked a global fury and initiated probably the most used hashtag in 2014 – #BringBackOurGirls. The outrage was heightened by the fact that the girls were pursuing their education, which was abruptly interrupted due to their abduction. Boko Haram, which translates to – “Western education is sin”, has been waging a war since 2009 against those Nigerians who oppose their proposed implementation of the Sharia law.
Schools, churches and mosques have been burned to the ground and women and children have been taken against their will.
Only time will tell what the true fate of the missing girls will be but as the year draws to a close, the likelihood that they will be reunited with their loved ones seems tragically far-fetched.