“I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah,” said Boko Haram leader Abubaker Shekau in a video obtained by Agence France-Presse.
“There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women,” continued Shekau, according to an additional translation provided by CNN.
On April 14, the group, listed by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, kidnapped 276 girls from their school while they were in the midst of final examinations.
Fifty-three of the girls escaped, but the remaining 223 are unaccounted for, though authorities believe they may have been transported near the borders of neighboring Chad and Cameroon.
“I said Western education should end,” said Abubakar in the video. “It should end. Girl you should go and get married. I abducted you girls.”
Boko Haram has killed an estimated 10,000 people in the country since it began operating in 2002. It was founded by Mohammed Yusuf and seeks to impose Islamic law on the country, which is nearly evenly split between Christians and Muslims.
The group has also used bombs as part of its campaign to bring Nigeria, Africa’s largest country and greatest oil exporter, under Islamic control. It killed 75 in a bomb attack on the same day as the kidnapping. Two weeks later it exploded another bomb, killing 19.
Some of the kidnapped girls were reportedly being sold as brides to Boko Haram militants. The leader of the Borno-Yobe People’s Forum told the Associated Press that the girls were being sold for $12, according to the Associated Press.
One prominent American Muslim organization condemned Abubakar’s comments.
“It is almost impossible to express the level of disgust felt by American Muslims at the un-Islamic and obscene actions of the terrorist group Boko Haram for the kidnapping and threat to ‘sell’ hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls,” said CAIR’s Ibrahim Hooper in a statement.
“We urge authorities in Nigeria and throughout the region to do everything they can to return the girls safely to their families and to eliminate the threat to peace and security posed by Boko Haram.”
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