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Hopes of progress were ruined over the weekend, when Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau announced the 219 Nigerian schoolgirls remaining in their captivity have been married off against their will.

Shekau released the video on Friday night, debunking news reports that the terrorist group reached a truce with Nigerian officials. In the chilling tape, Shekau boasts about the young girls converting to Islam and living with their new husbands.

The new video, obtained by Agence France-Presse, or AFP, on Friday, surfaces two weeks after the Nigerian military announced that Boko Haram had agreed to a cease-fire and would release the abducted schoolgirls. Shekau denied the claims by the Nigerian government in the video, ruling out chances of future talks, AFP reported.

“We have not made ceasefire with anyone,” Shekau said in the video. “We did not negotiate with anyone… It’s a lie. It’s a lie. We will not negotiate. What is our business with negotiation? Allah said we should not.”

This is the second time Shekau has mentioned the kidnapped girls, after a video in May showed more than 100 of them in a rural location. The girls, dressed in hijab, were seen reciting verses from the Koran.

“Don’t you know the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls have converted to Islam? They have now memorized two chapters of the Koran,” Shekau said. “We have married them off. They are in their marital homes. You people should understand that we only obey Allah, we tread the path of the Prophet. We hope to die on this path … Our goal is the garden of eternal bliss,” he says.

He said Boko Haram is interested only in “battle, hitting, striking and killing with the gun, which we look forward to like a tasty meal,”

Unfortunately, forced marriages have become the norm amidst Boko Haram, with over 500 women and girls allegedly in their wardship. Reports have also claimed that some of the girls were married off to fighters for an equivalent of $12. The group has maintained a violent dominance in Nigeria since 2009. Last week, they were reported to have killed 17 people and kidnapped 30 teenagers.

Meanwhile, critics have slammed the Nigerian government for focusing on their political ambitions instead of the well-being of the kidnapped and the thousands who’ve died at the hands of Boko Haram.

A socio-cultural group in Northern Nigeria, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has accused Nigeria’s leading politicians of being insensitive to the plight of victims of the insurgency in the north eastern part of the country.

“It’s an irony that while Nigerians in the Northeast region are being killed by insurgents and Nigerian territories being seized,” the ACF said “our politicians are busy collecting party declaration forms to contest 2015 elections instead of collaborating efforts to contain the insurgency.”

The ACF didn’t drop names, but Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan recently announced his candidacy for reelection in February 2015.

SOURCE: International Business TimesPremium Times | VIDEO CREDIT: News Inc. 

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