According to a new report on MailOnline yesterday, a heartbreaking new video of the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls has been released and the video shows the missing schoolgirls bravely speaking out about their ordeal for the first time.
The footage, not released publicly but seen by The Mail on Sunday, was taken in a jungle clearing a month after their abduction.
In the video, eight girls, dressed in their home-made school uniforms of pale blue gingham, plead for release as they stand courageously in front of the camera. They are clearly scared, upset and trying to
be brave. Each of them walks in turn to a spot in front of a white sheet fixed to a crude frame between the trees.
Four of them can be heard clearly, in their Hausa language, stating that they were taken by force and that they are hungry.
A tall girl, aged about 18, says tearfully: 'My family will be so worried.'
Another, speaking softly, says: 'I never expected to suffer like this in my life.' A third says: 'They have taken us away by force.' The fourth girl complains: 'We are not getting enough food.'
MailOnline reports that the video, taken by an intermediary on May 19, has been shown to President Goodluck Jonathan. It was intended to serve as 'proof of life' for the girls and to encourage the President to accede to the terrorists' demands.
The girls in the video look healthy, but it is understood that fraught negotiations are under way to broker the release of several pupils who have fallen ill, including one with a broken wrist. Two earlier videos showed the girls seated on the ground, dressed in hijabs, reciting the Koran, and Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau declaring he would sell them into slavery, or marry them off to their kidnappers, if members of his sect were not released from prison.
Meanwhile, MailOnline is also exclusively reporting that an Australian man has revealed how he is desperately trying to free the 250 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls, who were taken on April 14 by Boko Haram terrorists.
The man, Dr Stephen Davis left his home in Perth to travel to Nigeria after being recruited by the country's president for his hostage negotiation expertise. And he has been working secretly in Nigeria for almost a month now. He was asked to come to Nigeria after previously brokering a truce between violent rebels and the government in the Niger Delta in 2004.
In an email from Nigeria, the Doctor revealed he has had 'ongoing contact' with the groups involved in the kidnapping in Nigeria's north for seven years.
'This is a long process of building trust on both sides. There are several groups to deal with as the girls are held in several camps. This makes any thought of a rescue highly improbable. To attempt to rescue one group would only endanger the others.'
|Martha Mark holds up a photograph of her daughter Monica who is one of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram|
Despite the difficulties of a rescue operation, Dr Davis remains hopeful that the schoolgirls will be freed.
'Every day there is the possibility of the release of the girls. This is painful for the parents and the nation. The well-being of the girls is constantly on our minds and we want to see their release as soon as possible.'However, he warned:
'We must not endanger their lives any further. The vast majority of the Chibok girls are not being held in Nigeria. They are in camps across the Nigerian border in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. I say the “vast majority” as I know a small group was confirmed to me to be in Nigeria last week when we sought to have them released.'He also described how fraught the negotiation process has been. Dr Davis continued:
One of that small group of girls is ill and we had hoped we might convince the commander of the group holding her that she should be released so we could give her medical treatment. There are other girls who are not well and we have come close to having them released but their captors fear a trap in which they will be captured in the handover process.
One girl has what I assume is a broken wrist as they demonstrate to me how she holds her hand. I have been told that others are sick and in need of medical attention.’