New video released by the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram appears to show dozens of the schoolgirls they kidnapped last month, covered in traditional black Islamic hijabs and reciting Muslim prayers.
According to a BBC correspondent, the girls can be heard on the video reciting from the Koran in unison.
Agence France-Presse reported that Boko Haram asserted in the video that the girls had converted to Islam, a claim their appearance and recitations on the video would appear to bolster.
The militant Muslim group, which wants to institute Shariah law in Nigeria, said that the girls would not be released until all of its prisoners were freed.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau spoke for 17 minutes in the video then showed what he said were about 130 – or about half – of the girls who were kidnapped from their school campus, AFP reported.
“We have indeed liberated them,” Shekau said according to an AFP translation.
Their school is located in the northeastern town of Chibok, which has a large Christian population.
The Islamic extremists took responsibility for abducting the 276 schoolgirls in mid-April after shooting their way past school guards then loading the teenage girls onto trucks. Eyewitnesses reported that some of the girls jumped off of an open truck to escape.
The brazen attack occurred in the northeastern part of the country where there has been a surge of violence by the Boko Haram terrorist group trying to unseat President Goodluck Jonathan and institute Islamic law.
Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden” has been kidnapping girls and forcing them to act as cooks and sex slaves. Last week, Shekau said his group planned “by Allah” to start selling these kidnapped girls.
First lady Michelle Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in recent days have tried to raise public awareness of their plight.