Boko Haram Demands 40 Cattle In Exchange for 20 Abducted Fulani Women
Suspected Islamist militants in northeastern Nigeria demanded 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.