Boko Haram demands cattle as ransom for abducted women
Members of the Boko Haram Islamist group are now demanding for cattle as ransom for the women recently abducted by them.
They ask the relatives of the abducted women to provide them with 40 head of cattle as ransom for each of the 20 women they abducted earlier this week, a local vigilante group leader said.
Ethnic Fulani herders received the demand from local farmers after the women were seized near the town of Chibok, about 386 miles (622 kilometers) northeast of the Nigerian capital, Abuja, said Abba Aji Khalil, chairman of a vigilante group in Borno state. The June 8 kidnappings came two months after the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls by the Boko Haram Islamist group from a school in Chibok.
“The terrorists were able to pass across the information to some local farmers, who in turn passed the message to some Fulani herdsmen,” he said. “The Fulani herdsmen told some of our members that they are not ready to release their cattle to the Boko Haram members as they are not sure” that a swap will happen, he said.
Boko Haram has waged a five-year insurgency against Nigeria's government that has killed thousands of people. The group, whose name means “western education is a sin” in the local Hausa language, seeks to impose Shariah, or Islamic law, in Africa 's biggest economy and largest oil producer.
Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, has threatened in video messages to sell the schoolgirls in “markets,” marry them off and hold them until the Nigerian government frees imprisoned members of his group. President Goodluck Jonathan said last month that he wouldn't enter talks about swapping Boko Haram detainees for the girls.
The U.S. and U.K. sent teams to Nigeria to help the government find the schoolgirls, and Israel and France have pledged assistance. The West African nation's military said last month it knows the location of the schoolgirls and is assessing how to rescue them.