Photo: Chibok parents pray during trauma counseling seminar
On April 14, CNN released a video they say they received from someone “close to negotiations” between the government of Nigeria and an extremist group that is located primarily in Northern Nigeria for the release of the Chibok girls. The person, who remained unnamed, said the video was provided as a requested “show of good faith.” In the video, 15 girls line up against a wall and state their names and answer questions from a man off-screen. They say the date is Dec 25th, 2015.
A classmate of the girls who was shown the video was able to identify each one of the girls shown on the video. CNN also showed the video to three Chibok mothers who were also able to identify each of the girls as those taken from Chibok Secondary School in the April 2014 kidnapping. Emotional scenes followed as one of the mothers realizes that her child is not among the group.
Nigeria’s Information Minister expressed reservations about the video towards CNN. He said the government has received the video, and is still reviewing it. But he implies that they are not convinced of the video’s authenticity. He says the environment seems too controlled and there seems to be too little transformation in the girls’ appearance after two years of captivity. However, he does confirm that the government is involved in ongoing talks, but declined to give more details because “it can endanger the negotiations.”
Two days ago, Open Doors spoke to the Chairman of the Chibok Kidnapped Girls Parents Association, Rev Yakubu Nkiki Maina, who said he had not seen the video yet. He said the parents will watch it later together to see if they can identify their daughters. Pastor Maina also already expressed his reservations about the authenticity of the video.
“After not receiving news about their daughters for such a long time, this video would doubtless cause renewed hope for the devastated Chibok parents,” commented Open Doors Operational Director for West Africa, Jack van Tol. “We fervently pray that the video is authentic and that these girls are alive and well. But we are also conscious of the fact that they have had their hope shattered so many times by false reports about progress in freeing their daughters over the past two years…We ask Christians around the world to not give up in prayer for this situation. We also continue to urge the government to do everything in their power to see that these girls are freed.”