The girls have been missing since April 2014.
A video released by the terrorist group Boko Haram over the weekend shows about 50 of the 276 Nigerian girls who were kidnapped from their school in Chibok more than two years ago.
Some of the girls are crying, and some of them are holding babies – the result of rapes by their Boko Haram fighter “husbands.”
In the video, a Boko Haram militant stands in front of several dozen girls. He conducts an interview with one of them, identified as Maida Yakubu. She says 40 of the girls have been “married” to Boko Haram fighters, and that some of them have been killed by Nigerian airstrikes. She appeals to the Nigerian government to release jailed Boko Haram members in exchange for the girls’ freedom.
“Presently, some of the girls are crippled, some are terribly sick and some of them . . . died during bombardment by the Nigerian military,” the kidnapper says. “If our members in detention are not freed, let the government and parents of the Chibok girls know that they will never find these girls again.”
The video concludes by showing what is purported to be the bodies of dead Chibok girls.
Nigerian officials deny the terrorists’ claim that they are behind any schoolgirls’ deaths, saying the airstrikes they’ve launched against Boko Haram have been “done through precision attack on identified and registered targets and locations.”
The name “Boko Haram” translates as “Western education is forbidden.” Boko Haram has pledged loyalty to the Islamic State and waged a violent campaign in Nigeria for years. Many of the kidnapped girls were Christian; in the video they all wear traditional Islamic robes and hijab.
Information Minister Alhaji Mohammed said the Nigerian government is doing everything in its power to find and free the missing girls.
Elizabeth lives in Brooklyn with two daughters, occasional mice and innumerable to-do lists. She runs a nine-minute mile, bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie, and can always be persuaded to sing at a karaoke bar. Follow her on Twitter.