(Photo: NaijaTV video screencap)
The leader of terrorist group Boko Haram said in a video on Monday that he is responsible for the kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria, and revealed plans to sell them on the market because he says Allah told him to do so.
"I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah," the man, who identifies himself as Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, said in a video obtained by Agence France-Presse.
"There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women," he continued in the local Hausa language, CNN translated.
The school girls were kidnapped in Chibok, Borno State last month, when terrorists stormed the all-girls secondary school with trucks, and dragged them out of bed. Reports have stated that the girls are being forced to marry the Islamic militants, adding to the horror of the parents.
Authorities on Friday put the official number of kidnapped to 276, though 53 of those reportedly managed to escape.
The international community, including Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and several Christian groups have condemned the abduction and called on everything to be done to rescue the girls.
"Let me be clear. The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime," Kerry said in a policy speech in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, AFP reported on Sunday.
"We will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and hold the perpetrators to justice. That is our responsibility and the world's responsibility."
Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sin," has been waging war on the Nigerian government and the Christian population in Nigeria for nearly 5 years now, killing thousands in bombings on buildings, and shooting entire congregations.
Nigerian Muslim groups have said that the terrorist organization does not represent Islam, and have condemned their actions.
"We the Muslims of Nigeria hereby, unambiguously condemn in the strongest terms, the Boko Haram terrorists. Boko Haram are not our brothers, we reject to associate with them," MuslimsAgainstTerror.com declares.
"The actions of Boko Haram are in clear contradiction of the tenets of Islam. Islam forbids the killing of innocent victims," the statement continues. "Islam forbids the attack of women and children."
The Nigerian military engaged in battle and raided several Boko Haram bases this past year, but the terrorist group remains at large, and officials reportedly do not know where the kidnapped girls are.
The Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans has been calling on the government to step up its efforts and rescue the girls.
"The Nigerian President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the federal, state and local governments can do far much more than they are doing. Nigeria is now undergoing an intense insurgency that requires the government to be more resolute, decisive and unwavering in the fight," Laolu Akande, executive director of CANAN, said in a press release last week.
"Boko Haram has been kidnapping little girls who are Christians, trying to turn them into sex slaves, trying to convert them by force. Their strategy is to marry the girls and kill the men. So what they have done by kidnapping these female students, it is another demonstration of the impunity with which Boko Haram has been running its terrorist activities," the CANAN Executive Director told The Christian Post in a phone interview earlier in April.