On the eve of the second anniversary of the abduction of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria, CNN has obtained video that apparently proves some of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants may still be alive. The video was shot on December 25, 2015 and was given to CNN by an unnamed source who is reportedly one of the negotiators dealing with the terror group in the hopes of brokering the girls’ release. The source said the video was made as a show of good faith by Boko Haram. In an emotional meeting this week, CNN reports, some of the parents of the abducted girls were shown the video. Watch portions of it in preview of the full report, above.
The girls appear to be healthy and seem to be physically unharmed, though they look far from content — and horror stories told by some girls who have escaped the terror group’s clutches have painted a much grimmer portrait of life in captivity. The footage shows 15 of the girls who were abducted in the middle of the night by machine-gun-wielding militants, and at one point a voice off camera can be heard asking each of them their name. Naomi Zakaria, one of the abducted girls shown in the video, issues an apparently scripted appeal, urging Nigerian authorities to help reunite the girls with their families. “I am speaking on 25 December 2015, on behalf of the all the Chibok girls and we are all well,” she says.
CNN correspondent Nima Elbagir spoke on camera about the tape with Lia Mohammed, Nigeria’s information minister. He said he was encouraged by the fact that the girls appeared to be in good help and acknowledged that the Nigerian government has been negotiating the girls’ release, saying the talks have been “ongoing.” The CNN report shows and individually names each one of the girls seen in the video.
In a panel at the Women in the World New York Summit last Wednesday, activists Esther Ibanga and Obiageli Ezekwesili of Nigeria, and Somali National Army Captain Iman Elman — spoke about the threat posed to peace in Africa by radical Islamist militants.
Watch the full panel interview below:
In the weeks after the Chibok girls were abducted, Ezekwesili launched the#BringBackOurGirls campaign, which spread globally on the Internet and via social media. “The fact that neither my country nor the rest of the world has been able to give justice to these girls is emblematic of what we have seen …Women and girls suffer and there is no decisive action taken to resolve it,” she said.
Ibanga spoke of the “double tragedy” experienced by some of women who have been liberated from Boko Haram captivity: “They have been rescued from the camps of Boko Haram, but they have not been able to reintegrate into their communities. When they return they are viewed as Boko Haram wives, and so they are marginalized, they are ostracized, people are afraid of them and calling them ‘bad blood.'”
Read the full story about the ‘proof of life’ video at CNN.