Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram has reportedly released a video showing dozens of young boys in a forest begging for the Nigerian armed forces to stop looking for them.
Earlier in the week, the insurgents released an audio message saying they were behind the kidnapping of more than 300 schoolboys in Katsina, northwestern Nigeria.
A website with links to the group says the latest video is of the pupils taken from Kankara school last Friday.
The six-minute video is a distressing watch and features a boy in the foreground. His clothes and face are dishevelled and covered in dust. Dozens of children, who appear to be very young also stand in the background covered in dust as well and pleading.
The boy in the foreground said they were kidnapped by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau’s gang noting that some of the boys have been killed by fighter jets and calls for schools to be closed, excluding Koranic schools.
“Please help us. Tell the vigilantes and soldiers not to come around,” the boy in the foreground said in the video, adding that “more than 500 of us are in the forest”.
“Close any form of school, including Islamiyah. Please send the army back. They can’t do anything to help us. Please, sir, we need your assistance,” he said.
Authorities in the state are yet to comment on the video but have expressed strong belief the abduction was carried out by local gangs connected to Boko Haram.
By Abel Ejikeme