As ironic as this sounds, particularly with the concerted efforts by the federal and Borno State Governments, as well as the international community to find and rescue the girls, a member of the sect, was indeed featured in an interview with CBS news.
In the interview with Debrah Patta, a CBS news contributor, the terrorist vowed that the girls would be held captive until the federal government released Boko Haram members from prison.
The interview which was conducted at an undisclosed location in northern Nigeria, had the member, who called himself Saleh Abubakar, say: “If Allah wishes, nothing will happen to them,” he said. “But we ask the government if they don’t release our brothers, we are not going to release them.”
Although very nervous at first, Abubakar was brazen enough to walk through heavy security and police cordons to speak to CBS News.
This was in line with what a source connected to the group had said that Boko Haram members move freely around the country and are integrated into many levels of society.
Asked whether the girls will be killed if the government does not release the prisoners, he replied, “I will not tell you what we are going to do.”
Abubakar also told CBS News the abductions had been planned for three months before they happened, and he warned that Boko Haram intends to kidnap more schoolgirls.
The group draws its inspiration from al-Qaeda, and he claimed they have networks around the world, including America.
Throughout the interview, Abubakar hid his face except his eyes with a keffiyeh scarf, popular among men in North Africa and the Middle-East, and had initially expressed reluctance to speak to CBS.
He said he’s been a member of Boko Haram for seven years and started by opening up on the attack on the Chibok School: “We go to their school and attack some of the soldiers and policemen.”
But when asked why his group decided to target schoolgirls, Abubakar abruptly ended the interview, asking for a safer, indoor location.
He told CBS News he had seen the girls three weeks ago, and they were being well cared for.
When asked about reports of the girls being sick and requiring medical attention, Abubakar denied them.
“No, it’s lie. They don’t have problem at all,” he said.
“Some of them will complain of headache; we have medicine,” he said, when asked if any of the girls were sick. “We have everything in the place where we keep them.”
He told CBS News nothing would happen to the girls as long as the government releases Boko Haram fighters being held in Nigerian jails.
He refused to say whether the girls had been moved across the border and claimed they would no longer be sold as slaves because they had all converted willingly to Islam.
Asked if any had been sold into marriage, he replied, “We do not marry them.”
He said the girls had converted to Islam willingly. As a result, they’d been spared being sold into slavery, as the group’s leader had threatened.
“We didn’t make them convert to Islam by force, just by preaching, you understand,” he said.
When pressed on whether abducting the girls and forcing them to convert to Islam was the same as forcing them, he said, “As I tell you, we are not forcing anyone to accept Islam. We are just preaching to them.”
Trying to justify the targeting of children, he said: “You see the enemies among the children, it’s acceptable to fire on all of them. You cannot differentiate the children.”
The Nigerian Government said Boko Haram is linked to al Qaeda, but Abubakar would not confirm if al Qaeda funds their terrorist group.
“No, no, I am not going to tell you anything about this, but they are my brothers in Islam. Even in America, we have brothers,” Abubakar said.
For several days now there have been suggestions that some of the girls may be released, but there was no sense of urgency from Abubakar.
Sources say the government and Boko Haram are still trying to hash out a back door deal, but for the parents of the girls, this will be of little comfort, as their children have been missing for five weeks.