A mother of a Nigerian schoolgirl who was one among hundreds kidnapped by Boko Haram on April 14 identified her daughter in a video broadcast Monday by the Islamist group showing dozens of girls in captivity, media reports said citing a school leader Tuesday.
The mother reportedly watched the video on television and spotted her daughter among the girls sitting on the ground, wearing a full-length hijab -- a veil covering the head and chest mostly worn by Muslim women -- and praying in an undisclosed rural location, Dumoma Mpur, chairman of the parent-teacher association at the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, in Borno State, from where more than 300 girls were kidnapped, reportedly said.
"The video got parents apprehensive again after watching it but the various steps taken by the governments and the coming of the foreign troops is boosting our spirit, even though I have not seen the any one soldier in Chibok yet," Mpur told Reuters by telephone.
While Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, has demanded the release of militant prisoners in return for the abducted Nigerian girls, Shehu Sani, a former negotiator between Boko Haram and the government, reportedly called on Nigerian authorities to negotiate with the Islamist group, saying that the government should accept the group’s option of trading the girls for the prisoners.
"There are two ways to which you can get these girls free," Sani told CNN. "The first is to use force and the second is through dialogue. The use of force is not an option for now in the sense that nobody knows where these girls were kept.”
“And even if you know, these girls have been embedded in with the insurgents who are heavily armed. And any attempt to rescue them will be putting their lives in further danger.”
Mike Omeri, director of the National Orientation Agency, a government information ministry, told CNN: “The government of Nigeria will continue to explore all options for the release and safe return of our girls back to their respective homes.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. deployed surveillance aircrafts in search for the Nigerian schoolgirls and has also shared commercial satellite images with the Nigerian government. The White House reportedly said Monday that the U.S. team assisting the rescue mission comprises of nearly 30 people drawn from the State and Defense departments, as well as the FBI, and 10 planners from the defense department who were already in Nigeria and were redirected to assist the local government.
Jen Psaki, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, reportedly said in a news briefing Monday that the U.S. teams on the ground "are digging in on the search and coordinating closely with the Nigerian government as well as international partners and allies."