Boko Haram insurgents have claimed responsibility for the abduction of the 200+ Chibok girls, vowing to sell them into slavery.
According to Channel 4 News, a majority of the girls appear to still be alive, and negotiations are still ongoing in securing their release.
"It seems that Boko Haram is keen to do some sort of deal, and they particularly want to see the 18 girls who they claim are critically ill to be released urgently for medical attention,” the negotiator said.
The Boko Haram insurgents say three of the girls have died, but they didn’t say how they died. The group is also mum on the number of girls that have been trafficked into neighboring countries or forced into marriage.
The negotiator said it would appear as though the group is now willing to return the missing girls, although it is still unclear what they want in return.
Abubakar Shekau: “I Abducted Your Girls”
Speaking on the kidnap of the girls (which happened on the 15th of April, 2014 in the Chibok village in Borno State), Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau said in a video: “I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah. There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women."
The video is the first time the group is coming out to claim responsibility for the abduction. The group, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda has become something of a thorn in president Jonathan’s administration. The president had previously said he was unable to negotiate with Boko Haram until they claimed responsibility for the abduction, but Channel 4 News revealed that his administration had long since engaged the services of a negotiator.
It is still unclear the actual number of abducted girls. According to the police however, more than 300 girls were taken from Chibok Government Secondary School. They were packed onto the back of trucks and driven away. About 53 escaped, while 223 are still in the clutch of the sect, officers say.