International news channel, CNN has reported that it had obtained a video of some of the Chibok Girls which had been sent to negotiators by their captors as a ‘proof of life’. The video made available to CNN shows that the schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok two years ago are still alive and looking well taken care of.
The American news network reported that the video had been seen by negotiators and some members of the government, but has now been shown to the parents of the chibok school girls
CNN reports that Rifkatu Ayuba caught sight of her long-lost, desperately missed, now 17-year-old and wiled: ‘My Saratu!’ She reached out to a laptop screen, ‘the closest she’s been to her child in two years.’
Saratu Ayuba is one of 15 girls seen in the recording, shown to some of the families for the first time at an emotional meeting this week. Wearing a purple abaya, with a patterned brown scarf covering her hair, Saratu stares directly into the camera.
“I felt like removing her from the screen,” Ayuba told CNN, desperate to pluck Saratu from the mysterious location where she is being held and bring her home.
“If I could, I would have removed her from the screen.”
Still from the video
The video is believed to have been made last December, CNN reported, as part of negotiations between the government and Boko Haram. It was released by someone keen to give the girls’ parents hope that some of their daughters are still alive, and to motivate the government to help release them.
The girls, their hair covered and wearing long, flowing robes, line up against a dirty yellow wall. They show no obvious signs of maltreatment.
As the camera focuses in on each of them, a man behind the camera fires off questions: “What’s your name? Was that your name at school? Where were you taken from?”
One by one, each girl calmly states her name and explains that she was taken from Chibok Government Secondary School, according to the report.
CNN reports: “As the two-minute clip comes to an end, one of the girls, Naomi Zakaria, makes a final – apparently scripted – appeal to whoever is watching, urging the Nigerian authorities to help reunite the girls with their families.”
“I am speaking on 25 December 2015, on behalf of the all the Chibok girls and we are all well,” she says, stressing the word ‘all’, and CNN believes her intonation seems to imply that the 15 teens seen in the video have been chosen to represent the group as a whole.
Thomson Reuters Foundation also published a separate story corroborating CNN’s report. According to the foundation, about 15 abducted Chibok girls featured in the video, which was released to local officials on Tuesday.
Mothers Rifkatu Ayuba and Mary Ishaya said they recognised their daughters, Saratu and Hauwa, in the video, while a third mother, Yana Galang, identified five of the missing girls.
“The girls were looking very, very well,” Galang was quoted as saying in a telephone interview with the foundation after viewing the video at a screening organised by local officials in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state.
The three mothers were invited to the viewing by the chairman of Chibok local government area, Bana Lawan, who confirmed that he had paid their travel costs to Maiduguri.
“They were definitely our daughters, all we want is for the government to bring back our girls,” said Galang, adding all the girls were wearing hijabs in the video.
No member of Boko Haram was visible in the video and local officials were not immediately available to give details on how they received the video. “We only heard a man’s voice and saw his finger pointing at the girls one after the other,” he added.
Today will make exactly two years that the girls have been in captivity.