Video of missing Nigerian girls released

Boko Haram said they would release the schoolgirls in exchange for prisoners.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. Picture: CNN

JOHANNESBURG - Nigeria's Islamist Boko Haram militant's leader, Abubakar Shekau, said on Monday he would release more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by his fighters in exchange for prisoners, according to a video seen by Agence France-Presse.

The French news agency said the 17-minute video showed about 100 girls wearing full veils praying in an undisclosed location.

Video: Who is Abubakar Shekau?

The girls were kidnapped last month by militants who stormed a secondary school in the northeastern village of Chibok and seized 276 girls who were taking exams.

On Sunday Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said international military and intelligence assistance made him optimistic about finding the girls.

Israel has became the latest country to offer help to Nigeria.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office gave no details of its proposed assistance but Jonathan said Netanyahu offered to send a team of counter-terrorism experts during a phone conversation.

The United States and Britain have flown in experts and this, coupled with the deployment by Nigeria of two army divisions to the border region, signals that the search effort is gathering pace.

But it comes against a backdrop of sharp criticism of Jonathan's government for responding too slowly to the crisis.

The attack has been condemned globally, with South African artists and locals staging a march against the kidnap last week.

Video: Local artists march for missing girls.