Islamist group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for kidnapping more than 200 teenage schoolgirls and is threatening to sell them. The girls have been held for three weeks.
In a video statement obtained by news agency AFP, the leader of the Boko Haram militants Abubakar Shekau said the girls, who were kidnapped from their boarding school three weeks ago, would be sold.
"I abducted a girl at a Western education school and you are disturbed. I said Western education should end. Western education should end. Girls, you should go and get married," Shekau said in the 57-minute video, adding that the group was holding the girls as slaves. "I will sell them in the market, by Allah," he added.
More than 200 girls, aged between 15 and 18, had been kidnapped and, while 53 escaped, more than 276 are still being held captive. The girls had been preparing to sit exams when they were taken from their dormitories in the town of Chibok, in Borno state.
There have been unconfirmed reports that some of them had been forced to marry their captors or were taken to neighboring Chad and Cameroon and sold as brides for $12 (9 euros).
Boko Haram, whose name translates to "Western education is sinful", has been fighting an insurgency in northern Nigeria for the past five years. This year alone, more than 1,500 people have been killed in the violence.