The Islamist terror group Boko Haram said in a video released Monday that it would sell a group of more than 250 young girls abducted from a school in northeast Nigeria three weeks ago as bride slaves. Many fear that some of the girls have already been sold.
The 57-minute video shows Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, flanked by militants and an armored vehicle, calling for an Islamic state and speaking out against the West in English, Arabic and Hausa, the region's main language. Shekau calls the girls their “slaves” and says, “I will sell them because I have a market to sell them. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women.”
Boko Haram loosely translates into “Western education is a sin (against Islam).” Boko is a Hausa word; Haram is an Arabic word. The former is used to label something as a sham or full of deceit and was applied to education brought by British missionaries and colonizers in the early 1900s. Haram means “forbidden according to Islamic code.” Boko Haram’s name is literally their mission statement: to destroy Western influence and install Islamic law and teachings.
Shekau added a chilling declaration about Boko Haram's mission: "I have no time with your trillion. I am working for Allah and will die for it. No one can stop me. You killed Mohammed Yusuf [former Boko Haram leader]. Are you not saying he is even better than Shekau? Even if you kill me, other fighters will rise better than me. I am nothing and worthless before Allah, who I am working for."
The abduction is a statement against Nigerians sending their children (specifically girls) to be educated in Western-style schools. The 276 girls abducted were going to a school in the remote village of Chibok.
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Fifty-two minutes into the video, Shekau speaks out against Christians and the West in English:
“In every nation. In every region, (they) now has the decision to make. Either you are with us, I mean real Muslim who are following solid footsteps or you are with Obama, Francois Hollande, George Bush, Bush! Clinton! I forgot not Abraham Lincoln. Ban Ki-moon and his people generally and any unbeliever… Kill kill kill kill kill. This war is against Christians. I mean Christians generally.”
Boko Haram has perpetrated increasing violence in northern Nigeria since its founding in 2002. The group targets civilians and military personnel alike, and any prominent figure who speaks out against them, including Muslim clerics who disagree with their radical views. The Nigerian military has struggled to combat the small but elusive group.
The U.S. has been in touch with the Nigerian government to offer support in their efforts to find the girls. Parents of the abducted girls say the government has failed them, saying they lied about finding 121 of the captives.