Boko Haram on Thursday released a video showing the abducted students of Government Science Secondary School (GSSS), Kankara, Katsina state.
The Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, had on Tuesday claimed his group’s responsibility for the heinous attack on the boys’ boarding school.
In the six-minute-and-30-second footage released on Thursday by the insurgents, some of the boys could be seen behind Shekau, all covered in dust and appearing to be within a forest area.
All the boys looked distraught.
The relatively older schoolboy who spoke urged the federal government to settle amicably with their abductors and advised against the use of military force in rescuing them.
“Please help us. Tell the vigilantes and soldiers not to come around,” one of the boys in the video said, adding “more than 500 of us are in the forest.”
“Close any form of school, including Islamiyah. Please send the army back. They can’t do anything to help us. Please sir, we need your assistance,” he said.
At the end of the video, a voice believed to be that of Shekau said “he was doing Allah’s work.”
It would be recalled that the governor of Katsina State, Mr. Aminu Masari, had in an interview on Channels Television yesterday, claimed that bandits and not Boko Haram abducted the schoolboys.
He said the state government knew the abductors of the children.
He said efforts were ongoing to ensure that the students returned home safely, adding that discussions were on with the suspected abductors through Miyetti Allah, to ensure the students’ release.
“We are discussing through the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN)…with those suspected to have carried out the abduction, and I had a meeting with the commissioner of police and heads of security agencies two or three hours ago.
“The report we have and from the information available to us, this abduction was conducted and executed by local bandits that are known to all of us,” he had said.
When asked if there is a possible link between the attackers and Boko Haram, the governor said there are “signs” that bandits are making contact with the insurgents.
“You know over one year, there were signs that some of the elements of the bandits are making contact with some of the elements of Boko Haram or ISWAP,” he added.