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Nigeria

Islamists demand release of fighters

Video shows 100 girls wearing hijab

  • In this  photo taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, Monday May 12, 2014 shows their  leader Abubakar Shekau speaking to the camera. The new video purports to show dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in jihab and praying in Arabic. It is the first public sight of the girls since more than 300 were kidnapped from a northeastern school the night of April 14  exactly four weeks ago. (AP Photo)

    In this photo taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, Monday May 12, 2014 shows their leader Abubakar Shekau speaking to the camera. The new video purports to show dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in jihab and praying in Arabic. It is the first public sight of the girls since more than 300 were kidnapped from a northeastern school the night of April 14 exactly four weeks ago. (AP Photo)

  • In this  photo taken from video  by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, Monday May 12, 2014 shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok. The new video purports to show dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in jihab and praying in Arabic. It is the first public sight of the girls since more than 300 were kidnapped from a northeastern school the night of April 14  exactly four weeks ago. (AP Photo)

    In this photo taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, Monday May 12, 2014 shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok. The new video purports to show dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in jihab and praying in Arabic. It is the first public sight of the girls since more than 300 were kidnapped from a northeastern school the night of April 14 exactly four weeks ago. (AP Photo)

  • In this photo taken Sunday, May 11, 2014, people stand outside burnt houses following an attack by Islamic militants in Gambaru, Nigeria. Many brutalized residents of the once bustling town of Gamboru said Monday May 12, 2014, they are moving across the border to Cameroon because they cannot trust the Nigerian government to protect them, after repeated attacks by Islamic militants, including an attack a few days ago that killed some hundreds of people with more than 1,000 shops, dozens of homes and 314 trucks and cars bombed and burned out.(AP Photo/Jossy Ola)

    In this photo taken Sunday, May 11, 2014, people stand outside burnt houses following an attack by Islamic militants in Gambaru, Nigeria. Many brutalized residents of the once bustling town of Gamboru said Monday May 12, 2014, they are moving across the border to Cameroon because they cannot trust the Nigerian government to protect them, after repeated attacks by Islamic militants, including an attack a few days ago that killed some hundreds of people with more than 1,000 shops, dozens of homes and 314 trucks and cars bombed and burned out.(AP Photo/Jossy Ola)

  • Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade, Nigeria's top military spokesman, speaks during a press conference on the abducted school girls in Abuja, Nigeria, Monday, May 12, 2014. A Nigerian Islamic extremist leader says nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls will not be seen again until the government frees his detained fighters. A new video from Nigeria's homegrown Boko Haram terrorist network received Monday purports to show some of the girls and young women chanting Quranic verses in Arabic. The barefoot girls look frightened and sad and sit huddled together wearing gray Muslim veils. Some Christians among them say they have converted to Islam. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

    Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade, Nigeria's top military spokesman, speaks during a press conference on the abducted school girls in Abuja, Nigeria, Monday, May 12, 2014. A Nigerian Islamic extremist leader says nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls will not be seen again until the government frees his detained fighters. A new video from Nigeria's homegrown Boko Haram terrorist network received Monday purports to show some of the girls and young women chanting Quranic verses in Arabic. The barefoot girls look frightened and sad and sit huddled together wearing gray Muslim veils. Some Christians among them say they have converted to Islam. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

  • In this photo taken Sunday, May 11, 2014, people stand outside burnt houses following an attack by Islamic militants in Gambaru, Nigeria.  Many brutalized residents of the once bustling town of Gamboru said Monday May 12, 2014, they are moving across the border to Cameroon because they cannot trust the Nigerian government or military to protect them, after repeated attacks by Islamic militants, including an attack a few days ago that killed some hundreds of people with more than 1,000 shops, dozens of homes and 314 trucks and cars bombed and burned out.(AP Photo/Jossy Ola)

    In this photo taken Sunday, May 11, 2014, people stand outside burnt houses following an attack by Islamic militants in Gambaru, Nigeria. Many brutalized residents of the once bustling town of Gamboru said Monday May 12, 2014, they are moving across the border to Cameroon because they cannot trust the Nigerian government or military to protect them, after repeated attacks by Islamic militants, including an attack a few days ago that killed some hundreds of people with more than 1,000 shops, dozens of homes and 314 trucks and cars bombed and burned out.(AP Photo/Jossy Ola)

  • In this photo taken Sunday, May 11, 2014, women search for valuables at a burnt out house following an attack by Islamic militants in Gambaru, Nigeria. Many brutalized residents of the once bustling town of Gamboru said Monday May 12, 2014, they are moving across the border to Cameroon because they cannot trust the Nigerian government to protect them, after repeated attacks by Islamic militants, including an attack a few days ago that killed some hundreds of people with more than 1,000 shops, dozens of homes and 314 trucks and cars bombed and burned out.(AP Photo/Jossy Ola)

    In this photo taken Sunday, May 11, 2014, women search for valuables at a burnt out house following an attack by Islamic militants in Gambaru, Nigeria. Many brutalized residents of the once bustling town of Gamboru said Monday May 12, 2014, they are moving across the border to Cameroon because they cannot trust the Nigerian government to protect them, after repeated attacks by Islamic militants, including an attack a few days ago that killed some hundreds of people with more than 1,000 shops, dozens of homes and 314 trucks and cars bombed and burned out.(AP Photo/Jossy Ola)

  • In this  photo taken from video  by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, Monday May 12, 2014 shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok. The new video purports to show dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in jihab and praying in Arabic. It is the first public sight of the girls since more than 300 were kidnapped from a northeastern school the night of April 14  exactly four weeks ago. (AP Photo)

    In this photo taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, Monday May 12, 2014 shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok. The new video purports to show dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in jihab and praying in Arabic. It is the first public sight of the girls since more than 300 were kidnapped from a northeastern school the night of April 14 exactly four weeks ago. (AP Photo)

  • In this  photo taken from video by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, Monday May 12, 2014 shows their  leader Abubakar Shekau speaking to the camera. The new video purports to show dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in jihab and praying in Arabic. It is the first public sight of the girls since more than 300 were kidnapped from a northeastern school the night of April 14  exactly four weeks ago. (AP Photo)
  • In this  photo taken from video  by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, Monday May 12, 2014 shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok. The new video purports to show dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in jihab and praying in Arabic. It is the first public sight of the girls since more than 300 were kidnapped from a northeastern school the night of April 14  exactly four weeks ago. (AP Photo)
  • In this photo taken Sunday, May 11, 2014, people stand outside burnt houses following an attack by Islamic militants in Gambaru, Nigeria. Many brutalized residents of the once bustling town of Gamboru said Monday May 12, 2014, they are moving across the border to Cameroon because they cannot trust the Nigerian government to protect them, after repeated attacks by Islamic militants, including an attack a few days ago that killed some hundreds of people with more than 1,000 shops, dozens of homes and 314 trucks and cars bombed and burned out.(AP Photo/Jossy Ola)
  • Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade, Nigeria's top military spokesman, speaks during a press conference on the abducted school girls in Abuja, Nigeria, Monday, May 12, 2014. A Nigerian Islamic extremist leader says nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls will not be seen again until the government frees his detained fighters. A new video from Nigeria's homegrown Boko Haram terrorist network received Monday purports to show some of the girls and young women chanting Quranic verses in Arabic. The barefoot girls look frightened and sad and sit huddled together wearing gray Muslim veils. Some Christians among them say they have converted to Islam. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
  • In this photo taken Sunday, May 11, 2014, people stand outside burnt houses following an attack by Islamic militants in Gambaru, Nigeria.  Many brutalized residents of the once bustling town of Gamboru said Monday May 12, 2014, they are moving across the border to Cameroon because they cannot trust the Nigerian government or military to protect them, after repeated attacks by Islamic militants, including an attack a few days ago that killed some hundreds of people with more than 1,000 shops, dozens of homes and 314 trucks and cars bombed and burned out.(AP Photo/Jossy Ola)
  • In this photo taken Sunday, May 11, 2014, women search for valuables at a burnt out house following an attack by Islamic militants in Gambaru, Nigeria. Many brutalized residents of the once bustling town of Gamboru said Monday May 12, 2014, they are moving across the border to Cameroon because they cannot trust the Nigerian government to protect them, after repeated attacks by Islamic militants, including an attack a few days ago that killed some hundreds of people with more than 1,000 shops, dozens of homes and 314 trucks and cars bombed and burned out.(AP Photo/Jossy Ola)
  • In this  photo taken from video  by Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorist network, Monday May 12, 2014 shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok. The new video purports to show dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in jihab and praying in Arabic. It is the first public sight of the girls since more than 300 were kidnapped from a northeastern school the night of April 14  exactly four weeks ago. (AP Photo)

Under the guns of their captors, dozens of barefoot girls sat huddled together wearing gray Muslim veils as they chanted Quranic verses in Arabic. Some Christians among them said they had converted to Islam.

“I swear to almighty Allah, you will not see them again until you release our brothers that you have captured,” the leader of the Boko Haram terrorist network threatened, an assault rifle slung across his chest.

A video released by the group yesterday offered the first public glimpse of what it claimed were some of the nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped a month ago. The girls’ plight has spurred a global movement to secure their freedom.

It is not known how many suspected Boko Haram members are detained by security forces. Hundreds were killed last month when leader Abubakar Shekau’s fighters stormed the military’s main northeastern barracks in Maiduguri, the terror group’s birthplace and the headquarters of a year-old military state of emergency to put down the 5-year-old Islamic uprising.

In the video, two of the girls were singled out for questions.

“Why have you become a Muslim?” one girl, who looked to be in her early teens, was asked.

“The reason why I became a Muslim is because the path we are on is not the right path,” the girl said, nervously shifting her body from side to side, her eyes darting back and forth.

“We should enter the right path so that Allah will be happy with us,” added the girl, who said her name had been changed to Halima because she had converted from Christianity to Islam.

Like the other girls, she wore a bulky gray hijab that covered her body from head to toe, revealing only her face.

A second girl, who appeared to be in her mid-teens, was asked if she or any of the others had been mistreated. No, she said, adding that they had experienced nothing “except righteousness.”

As the girls chanted Islamic verses, some clasped their hands together in what appeared to be the Christian style of prayer before quickly turning their palms upward, as Muslim worshippers do.

The girls’ families have said most of those seized April 15 from a school in the northeastern town of Chibok are Christians.

It was impossible to fully authenticate the video, though parents were trying to turn on a generator in Chibok, hoping to watch the video and identify their daughters, said a town leader, Pogu Bitrus.

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