Nigeria’s purported Boko Haram leader says has ‘married off’ girls - AFP

Boko Haram has attacked targets almost every day for weeks and last week seized control of Mubi.

A screengrab taken from a video released on You Tube on 12 April, 2012 apparently shows Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau (C) sitting flanked by militants.Picture:AFP.

LAGOS - A man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar

Shekau said more than 200 girls kidnapped by the group six months ago had been "married

off" to its fighters, contradicting Nigerian government claims they would soon

be freed, AFP said on Saturday.

Nigeria's military says it killed Shekau a year ago.

The insurgents usually give a copy of their videos to the

French news agency about a day before they are posted online. The latest is

likely to raise doubts about whether talks between a Boko Haram faction and the

government in neighbouring Chad will secure the girls' release.

The man claiming to be Shekau also denied there was a

ceasefire pending talks, and said his group was holding a German hostage

kidnapped in the northeastern city of Gombe in July.

Gunmen, widely assumed to be linked to Boko Haram, kidnapped

the teacher from a technical college.

"We have married them off. They are in their marital homes,"

AFP quoted Shekau as saying of the girls kidnapped from a secondary school in

northeast Nigeria in April. "Don't you know the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls

have converted to Islam? They have now memorised two chapters of the Koran."

Shekau's denial of the ceasefire appears supported by the

violence that has occurred since the government announced it two weeks ago. It

also raises doubts about the actual influence of Danladi Ahmadu, the man with

whom the government is negotiating.

The five-year-old campaign for an Islamic state by Boko

Haram, which has killed thousands and whose name means "Western education is

sinful", has become by far the biggest menace to the security of Africa's

biggest economy and top oil producer.

Boko Haram has attacked targets almost every day for weeks

and last week seized control of Mubi, the home town of Nigeria's defence chief

Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh. It was Badeh who announced the ceasefire.

They robbed banks, burned down houses and hoisted their

black flag over the Emir's palace, killing dozens of people and forcing

thousands to flee, witnesses said.

A car bomb thought to be planted by Boko Haram killed at

least 10 people at a crowded bus stop in Gombe on Friday morning, emergency

services said.

The government has blamed the violence on Boko Haram's

allied criminal networks that the group cannot control. There are believed to

be several competing factions within the group.

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