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I watched some parts of the 17-minute video. I saw the girls in a "happy", though feigned, mood. They are all talking to each other. They were saying loudly, in Hausa: "...Prophet Muhammad is
the messenger of God, and Prophet Jesus is also a messenger of God; he is not son of God. Then they started reading from the Quran; Surah Fatiha, loudly. One of the girls came forward to tell that they are not harmed by the fighters, and they have all converted to Islam. I saw them some in ash-coloured hijabs and some in black hijabs. Some of them were standing, some were sitting on the ground. Three or so of them were holding the black flag for Jihad. They looked calm and undisturbed. But I think it is just a facade.

I generated some points to show that they are afraid:

1.) In his previous video (before international pressure mounted on them and the FG; and before prominent Islamic groups and scholars condemned their acts, even Al-Qaeda) Shekau promised to sell the girls because, he claimed, Allah had ordered him to do so In the Quran. So why did he changed his mind now? Is he shunning the command of Allah, as he claimed? Or what is it?

2.) The foreign media, international community, movements and the world in general condemned what he has done to the girls; the slavery and oppression. To clean that out, he, I believe, forced the girls to say they are not been harmed. Why did he need to say this, after he occasionally said that he is working for Allah and don't mind what people may say?

3.) Foreign troops are coming. In most of his videos he dared Obama, Francoise Hollande, Queen Elizabeth etc. He once said: "Nigeria, you are late...We are waiting for America" (emphasis mine). Now that American soldiers are about to help demolish them, they want "peace. Yes, peace. Why can't they come and fight, for the sake of Allah?

Conclusion: I believe Boko Haram are afraid of the foreign military. They cannot confront them. That is why they, when the soldiers are about to strike, made an offer; an alternative that many rebels had used. They want their members in detention to be released in exchange for the girls. To further show they are afraid, they destroyed two important bridges that will take the soldiers to where they are cowardly hiding. Why can't they let the soldiers come and face them? Truth is Shekau is afraid. And the deadly mistake the Nigerian government will make is to accept the "offer" and release their members, without agreement for ceasefire if possible. If they release them, who knows what they are up to? And they would be strengthened morally, physically and economically. We should find a way out.
And the issue of their "forced" conversion to Islam can be resolved later for the Quran said "There is no compulsion in religion"; get the girls first, if they chose to be Muslims thereafter, it is for them. Glad that the girls are alive. God bless Nigeria.

A.Y. Malam Roni.

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