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Boko Haram Says Kidnapped Girls Are Now 'Married'

People call for the Nigerian government to rescue girls taken from a secondary school in Chibok region, during a protest earlier this month. Boko Haram, the group that took the girls, says they have been "married off."
Olamikan Gbemiga

Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram says the more than 200 girls it kidnapped from a school in April are now married. The group made the claim as its leader denied stories that it has reached a cease fire deal.

"We have married them off. They are in their marital homes," Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said of the girls, in a video that was obtained by Agence France-Presse.

From Lagos, NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports:

"It's been two weeks since the Nigerian government announced a truce with Boko Haram, giving a glimmer of hope to the families of the missing Chibok schoolgirls.

"Nigeria has insisted an agreement was reached with the insurgents about freedom for the girls. But in a new video, Shekau ruled this out, denying talk of a prisoner exchange for the release of the teens.

"Laughing, Shekau said the issue of the girls he'd earlier threatened to sell off as slaves was long forgotten.

"He says they've become Muslims and are now married to Boko Haram fighters. The news is a bitter blow for the families who were clinging to the possibility of some progress, though most Nigerians were deeply skeptical about the government's announcement."

The students who were kidnapped in April are among hundreds of boys and girls Boko Haram has abducted. Last week, reports emerged that the group had kidnapped another 25 women and girls.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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