Nigeria’s Katsina faculty abduction: Boko Haram exhibits video ‘of seized boys’

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A video by the Boko Haram jihadist group shows some of the more than 300 Nigerian schoolchildren who were kidnapped last week.

In the video, which was shot in a forest, armed men with hidden faces guard boys, some of whom look no more than 10 years old.

A child must make claims on behalf of the group.

The boys were kidnapped from a boarding school in the northwestern state of Katsina.

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The attack was the first of its kind in northwestern Nigeria.

Despite Boko Haram’s claims that it was behind the kidnappings, Nigerian authorities say they were carried out by local gangs linked to the Islamist group.

Boko Haram has been notorious for school kidnappings over the past decade, including in Chibok in 2014 when nearly 300 school girls were confiscated.

However, these kidnappings have so far taken place in the northeast.

What does the video show?

The six-minute footage – which has not been independently verified – shows a boy in the foreground, his clothes and face disheveled.

Dozens of children, some of whom seem very young, stand in the background pleading.

Image descriptionBoko Haram said it targeted the school against Western education

In a mixture of English and Hausa, the keynote speaker says they were kidnapped by the gang of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.

He says some of the boys were killed by Nigerian fighter jets and called for schools other than Koran schools to be closed.

He added that any government troops sent to help them should be sent back.

At some point his voice seems to break and the other children start crying.

It’s an agonizing clock, says BBC Nigeria correspondent Mayeni Jones.

Another damage to the president’s reputation

Analysis by Nduka Orjinmo, BBC News, Lagos

This marks a devastating turn in the war against the Islamist uprising in Nigeria. Far from confirming that militant groups like Boko Haram have spread to the northwest.

Heightened crimes such as kidnappings and attacks on peasant communities were associated with “bandits” – a loose term for several groups in the vast region that now must include Islamic insurgents.

There have been warnings in the past that the government’s failure to deal with such groups posed a threat and a potential breeding ground for sympathizers of the Islamist militancy.

Image rightsAFP / GettyImage descriptionBoko Haram is led by Abubakar Shekau

If the boys are really with Boko Haram now, then what seemed inconceivable now sounds true: Islamist militants in northeastern Nigeria are spreading west to join groups of other criminal gangs.

The security implications should be of concern not only for Nigeria but also for other countries in the Sahel, where large Islamic insurgents are now in large hands.

This was a video that many Nigerians hoped they would never see again: schoolchildren in the hands of Boko Haram and, as expected, many are angry at the deteriorating security situation under the current administration.

People are now waiting to see how President Muhammadu Buhari deals with the situation – Boko Haram will likely use the boys as a bargaining chip. That this was done under a government that came to power and promised better security is a further undermining of his reputation as a former military general.

What are the Nigerian authorities saying?

The armed men who kidnapped the students may have received help from Boko Haram, Governor Aminu Bello Masari told BBC News.

His statement comes after the militant Islamist group said it was responsible for the kidnapping.

However, the governor reiterated the authorities’ view that the attack itself was carried out by so-called local bandits.

“You can’t really say that there is no Boko Haram at all, except for those who [carried out the attack] are not Boko Haram, are not known to be members of Boko Haram.

“Could be [they helped] through training or other resources for the local bandits, but all the names we have so far are names of the local bandits, “said Governor Masari.

He told the BBC that the security forces had contacted the kidnappers and had an idea of ​​where they were.

However, he stressed that the authorities would neither negotiate with Boko Haram nor agree to a ransom payment.

The jihadist group has led a brutal uprising since 2009, mainly in northeastern Nigeria.

Tens of thousands of people have died and millions have been evicted from their homes.

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