CNN Anchor Speaks on Video of Nigerian Schoolgirls
By now, the world has heard Boko Haram’s leader make demands for the release of nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls, who were abducted by the Islamic terrorist group last month.
Video of the girls has also emerged and, while CNN has yet to verify the video or determine when it was shot, the cable network’s international anchor and correspondent Isha Sesay, says the footage has given hope to the families of the missing students.
“[The video’s] emergence keeps hope alive for all of us, but especially the parents who are living a nightmare every day their kids are away from them,” Sesay said in a phone interview to JET from Nigeria. “The kids are absolutely terrified, they’re clearly frightened. I think the video also demonstrates that Boko Haram feels totally confident in their position. They feel like they hold the cards here. [Boko Haram leader] Abubakar Shekau already said some of the Christian girls have converted to Islam, so it shows they’re in control of situation.”
According to Sesay, a local official was attempting to retrieve copies of the tape so that parents could look at it and identify their children on the tape.
“For the parents, that is the focus,” says Sesay.
The CNN anchor has also spoken to two experts who are familiar with the situation and have differing opinions.
Human rights activist, Femi Falana believes the Nigerian government should not be negotiating with the terrorist group. Meanwhile, civil rights activist Shehu Sani, who has mediated with Boko Haram before, says the Nigerian government should take the offer, which will expire after a certain time.
“I think it’s important to note that the parents of these missing girls and the residents of the town where the raid happened are living in absolute fear,” says Sesay. “They’re living with heartache that their friends and relatives can be taken away. They’re afraid for their own lives. There’s no security on the ground. They’re leaving their homes around 5 or 6 in evening, taking their littles ones and sleeping in the bushes. They’d rather do that than risk Boko Haram coming back.”
Most importantly, Sesay wants to make sure the girls’ story gets out and that they’re returned safely.
“Boko Haram has laid siege to this part of the world,” she says. “It’s absolute terror.”