In the weeks since terror organization Boko Haram took about 300 girls prisoner from their school in Nigeria, many American leaders have engaged in impassioned – though largely ineffective – campaigns to facilitate their return.
For example, public figures like Michelle Obama took part in a Twitter campaign that, beyond making news across the U.S., has made no noticeable impact on the Nigerian situation.
— Slate (@Slate) May 9, 2014
The latest development came Monday morning with the release of a video that purportedly shows about 100 of the kidnapped girls wearing hijabs, ostensibly having converted to Islam.
“Praise be to Allah, the lord of the world,” they are heard reciting on the footage initially publicized by a French media outlet.
Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s leader, also appeared in the video; however, that portion was apparently recorded separately from the segment featuring the girls. In it, he confirmed the prisoners converted and suggested they would be used as leverage in securing the release of group members currently behind bars.
Assuming those shown in the video are actually the Nigerian schoolgirls, this release offers the first glimpse of the prisoners since they were taken. The majority – at least 276 – remain unaccounted for, while a few were able to escape shortly after terrorists stormed the school.
One of those fortunate few shared her experience with CNN recently.
“We ran into the bush,” she recalled. “We ran and ran.”
Completely disoriented, she and two other victims made their way toward a fire they believed was emanating from a building burned by the terrorists. While they are now safe, the fate of their schoolmates is far less certain.
While Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan believes the girls are still in the general vicinity of their capture, former United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged rescue efforts to concentrate on surrounding nations, including Niger, Cameroon, and Chad.