Nigeria Group Threatens to Sell Kidnapped Students

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -

Nigeria’s Islamic extremist leader is threatening to sell the nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls abducted from a school in the remote northeast three weeks ago, in a new videotape received Monday.

Abubakar Shekau for the first time also claimed responsibility for the April 15 mass abduction, warning that his group plans to attack more schools and abduct more girls.

“I abducted your girls,” said the leader of Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful.”

In the video, Shekau also said the students “will remain slaves with us.” That appears a reference to the ancient jihadi custom of enslaving women captured in a holy war.

The video was reviewed by The Associated Press, and both the face and the voice of the leader of Boko Haram were recognizable.

Nigeria’s police have said more than 300 girls were abducted. Of that number, 276 remain in captivity and 53 escaped.

The mass abduction and the military’s failure to rescue the girls and young women have ignited national outrage with demonstrations in major cities. Protesters accused President Goodluck Jonathan of insensitivity to the girls’ plight.