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Nigeria: Boko Haram threatens to sell kidnap girls

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LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s Islamic extremist leader is threatening to sell the more than 300 teenage schoolgirls abducted from a school in the remote northeast three weeks ago, in a new videotape received Monday.

Abubakar Shekau for the first time also claimed responsibility for the April 15 mass abduction, in a video reviewed by The Associated Press.

He threatens to attack more schools and abduct more girls

“I abducted your girls,” said the leader of Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful.

He described the girls as “slaves” and said “By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace.” The hour-long video starts with fighters lofting automatic rifles and shooting in the air as they chant “Allahu akbar!” or “God is great.”

It was unclear if the video was made before or after reports emerged last week that some of the girls have been forced to marry their abductors – who paid a nominal bride price of $12 – and that others have been carried into neighboring Cameroon and Chad. Those reports could not be verified.

In the video, Shekau also says the students “will remain slaves with us.” That appears a reference to the ancient jihadi custom of enslaving women captured in a holy war, who then can be used as sex slaves.

“They are slaves and I will sell them because I have the market to sell them,” he said, speaking in the Hausa language of northern Nigeria.

An intermediary who has said Boko Haram is ready to negotiate ransoms for the girls also said two of the girls have died of snakebite and about 20 are ill. He said Christians among the girls have been forced to convert to Islam. The man, an Islamic scholar, spoke on condition of anonymity because his position is sensitive.

Nigeria’s police have said more than 300 girls were abducted. Of that number, 276 remain in captivity and 53 escaped.

The mass abduction and the military’s failure to rescue the girls and young women has roused national outrage with protests in major cities. Protesters accused President Goodluck Jonathan of being insensitive to the girl’s plight.

First lady Patience Jonathan fueled anger Monday when a leader of a protest march said she ordered the arrests of two protest leaders, expressed doubts there was any kidnapping and accused the protest leaders of belonging to Boko Haram.

It was unclear what authority Mrs. Jonathan would have to give such orders, since there is no office of first lady in the Nigerian constitution.

Ayo Adewuyi, spokesman for the first lady, said he was unaware of any arrests. “The first lady did not order the arrest of anybody, and I’m sure of that,” he told the AP..

But Saratu Angus Ndirpaya of Chibok town said State Security Service agents drove her and protest leader Naomi Mutah Nyadar to a police station Monday after an all-night meeting at the presidential villa in Abuja, the capital. She said police immediately released her but that Nyadar remains in detention. Deputy Superintendent Daniel Altine, police spokeswoman for Abuja, said she had no information but would investigate.

But Ndirpaya said Mrs. Jonathan accused them of fabricating the abductions. “She told so many lies, that we just wanted the government of Nigeria to have a bad name, that we did not want to support her husband’s rule,” she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

She said other women at the meeting, allies of Mrs. Jonathan including officials of the government and the ruling party, cheered and chanted “yes, yes,” when Mrs. Jonathan accused them of belonging to Boko Haram. “They said we are Boko Haram, and that Mrs. Nyadar is a member of Boko Haram.” She said Nyadar and herself do not have daughters among those abducted, but are supporting the mothers of kidnapped daughters.

Mrs. Jonathan said the women “had no right to protest,” especially Nyadar, whom she identified as the deputy director of the National Directorate of Employment. Jonathan said Nyadar should resign her government post, Ndirpaya said.

In a report on the meeting, Daily Trust newspaper quoted Mrs. Jonathan as ordering all Nigerian women to stop protesting, and threatening “should anything happen to them during protests, they should blame themselves.”

On Sunday night, Jonathan said his administration is doing everything possible. On Friday he created a presidential committee to go to the affected Borno state to work with the community on a strategy to get the girls free.

Associated Press writers Lekan Oyekanmi and Bashir Adigun contributed to this report from Abuja, Nigeria, and Ibrahim Garba contributed from Kano, Nigeria.

Nigeria: Boko Haram threatens to sell kidnap girls

KDWN

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s Islamic extremist leader threatened in a videotaped statement seen on Monday to sell the more than 200 teenage schoolgirls abducted from a school in the remote northeast of the country three weeks ago.

Abubakar Shekau for the first time also claimed responsibility for the April 15 mass abduction, in a video reviewed by The Associated Press.

“I abducted your girls,” said the leader of Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful.

“By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace,” he said in the hour-long video that starts with fighters lofting automatic rifles and shooting in the air as they chant “Allahu akbar!” or “God is great.”

It was unclear if the video was made before or after reports emerged last week that some of the girls have been forced to marry their abductors – who paid a nominal bride price of $12 – and that others have been carried into neighboring Cameroon and Chad. Those reports could not be verified.

An intermediary who has said Boko Haram is ready to negotiate ransoms for the girls also said two of the girls have died of snakebite and about 20 are ill. He said Christians among the girls have been forced to convert to Islam. The man, an Islamic scholar, spoke on condition of anonymity because his position is sensitive.

Nigeria’s police have said more than 300 girls were abducted. Of that number, 276 remain in captivity and 53 escaped.

The mass abduction and the military’s failure to rescue the girls and young women has roused national outrage with protests in major cities. Protesters accused President Goodluck Jonathan of being insensitive to the girl’s plight.

First lady Patience Jonathan fueled anger Monday when a leader of a protest march said she ordered the arrests of two protest leaders, expressed doubts there was any kidnapping and accused the protest leaders of belonging to Boko Haram.

It was unclear what authority Mrs. Jonathan would have to give such orders, since there is no office of first lady in the Nigerian constitution.

The first lady’s office denied there were any arrests.

But Saratu Angus Ndirpaya of Chibok town said State Security Service agents drove her and protest leader Naomi Mutah Nyadar to a police station Monday after an all-night meeting at the presidential villa in Abuja, the capital. She said police immediately released her but that Nyadar remains in detention. Deputy Superintendent Daniel Altine, police spokeswoman for Abuja, said she had no information but would investigate.

On Sunday night, Jonathan said his administration is doing everything possible. On Friday he created a presidential committee to go to the affected Borno state to work with the community on a strategy for the release.

Some girls who have escaped from the mass kidnapping said their captors identified themselves as Boko Haram.

Associated Press writers Lekan Oyekanmi and Bashir Adigun contributed to this report from Abuja, Nigeria.

Nigeria: Boko Haram threatens to sell kidnap girls

KDWN

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s Islamic extremist leader is threatening to sell hundreds of teenage schoolgirls abducted from a school in the remote northeast of the country three weeks ago.

Abubakar Shekau for the first time also claimed responsibility for the April 15 mass abduction, in a video received by The Associated Press on Monday.

“I abducted your girls,” he said. And, “By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace.”

Nigeria’s police have said more than 300 girls were abducted: 276 remain in captivity and 53 have managed to escape.

The mass abduction and the military’s failure to rescue the girls and young women has roused national outrage with protests in major cities. Protesters accused President Goodluck Jonathan of being insensitive to the girl’s plight.

Jonathan says his government and the military are doing everything possible.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

A leader of a protest march for 276 missing schoolgirls said that Nigeria’s first lady ordered her and another protest leader arrested Monday, expressed doubts there was any kidnapping and accused them of belonging to the Islamic insurgent group blamed for the abductions. The first lady’s office denied there were any arrests.

Saratu Angus Ndirpaya of Chibok town said State Security Service agents drove her and protest leader Naomi Mutah Nyadar to a police station Monday after an all-night meeting at the presidential villa in Abuja, the capital. She said police immediately released her but that Nyadar remains in detention. Deputy Superintendent Daniel Altine, police spokeswoman for Abuja, said she had no information but would investigate.

As AP journalists waited outside the Asokoro police station in Abuja where Nyadar was being held, they watched a vehicle from the presidential State House drive up, saw her bundled into the car and driven away.

Ayo Adewuyi, spokesman for first lady Patience Jonathan, said there was a meeting but he was unaware of any arrests. “The first lady did not order the arrest of anybody, and I’m sure of that,” he told the AP.

Police say more than 300 girls and young women were abducted April 15 from Chibok Government Girls Secondary School, of whom 53 girls escaped and 276 remain in captivity.

But Ndirpaya said Mrs. Jonathan accused them of fabricating the abductions. “She told so many lies, that we just wanted the government of Nigeria to have a bad name, that we did not want to support her husband’s rule,” she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

She said other women at the meeting, allies of Mrs. Jonathan including officials of the government and the ruling party, cheered and chanted “yes, yes,” when Mrs. Jonathan accused them of belonging to Boko Haram, an Islamic insurgent group that allegedly kidnapped the girls. “They said we are Boko Haram, and that Mrs. Nyadar is a member of Boko Haram.” She said Nyadar and herself do not have daughters among those abducted, but are supporting the mothers of kidnapped daughters.

Mrs. Jonathan said the women “had no right to protest,” especially Nyadar, whom she identified as the deputy director of the National Directorate of Employment. Jonathan said Nyadar should resign her government post, Ndirpaya said.

In a report on the meeting, Daily Trust newspaper quoted Mrs. Jonathan as ordering all Nigerian women to stop protesting, and threatening “should anything happen to them during protests, they should blame themselves.”

It was unclear what authority Mrs. Jonathan would have to give such orders.

Protesters said they are also concerned that they have been unable to reach two other people who were at the meeting: the principal of Chibok Government Girls Secondary School, Asabe Kwambura, and the town’s local government chairman, Bana Lawal. “They were supposed to meet with us this morning, they were last seen at the (presidential) villa, and we suspect they are being kept there to stop them speaking out,” said Tsambido Hosea Abana, chairman of the Chibok community in Abuja, who has a sister and three nieces among the missing girls.

An adviser to the president says the mass abduction and failure to rescue the girls, now in a fourth week of captivity, is a source of deep embarrassment to Jonathan and his government. Some Nigerians have accused the government of insensitivity to the girls’ plight and not doing enough to rescue them.

On Sunday night, Jonathan said his administration is doing everything possible. On Friday he created a presidential committee to go to the affected Borno state to work with the community on a strategy for the release.

Some girls who have escaped from the mass kidnapping said their captors identified themselves as Boko Haram.

Associated Press writers Lekan Oyekanmi and Bashir Adigun contributed to this report from Abuja, Nigeria.