Boko Haram has claimed the 219 schoolgirls it kidnapped in Nigeria earlier this year have converted to Islam and been married off.
The Islamist group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, also denied claims by Nigeria’s government that it had agreed to a ceasefire and apparently ruled out future talks.
An image grab made on October 31, 2014 from a video obtained by AFP shows the leader of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau.
The schoolgirls were kidnapped from the remote northeast town of Chibok in Borno state in April, raising global awareness about the group whose five-year insurgency in northern Nigeria has claimed an estimated 13,000 lives.
The new video comes after a surprise announcement by the Nigerian military and presidency on October 17 that a deal had been reached with the militants to end hostilities and return the children.
There was immediate skepticism about both claims. Previous ceasefires have proved fruitless and there is little trust in the influence of the purported Boko Haram envoy, Danladi Ahmadu.
Shekau, speaking in Hausa, dressed in military fatigues and boots with a black turban said while laughing: “We have married them off. They are in their marital homes.”
Human Rights Watch said in a report published this week that Boko Haram was holding upwards of 500 women and young girls and that forced marriage was commonplace in the militant camps.