Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram released a video on Thursday claiming the teenaged boys shown were the schoolboys that were kidnapped from the north-western Nigerian town of Kankara in Katsina state. A gang of gunmen abducted over 300 schoolboys last Friday from the Government Science Secondary School in an attack that bore resemblance to the 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State.
In the video, a teenaged boy told the camera that he along with other children have been caught by a gang belonging to the Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. The boy, who was not identified, pleaded for assistance.
"Please, please, we need your assistance," he said as other boys shout out to the camera before the video ended.
Audio reported to be of Shekau was also released along with the video. The group's leader said that "our people did Allah's work."
"I earlier released an audio confirming our people did Allah's work, but people denied it," the voice in the audio said. "Here are my men, and your children have spoken."
Earlier this week, Shekau released an audio clip saying the group abducted the children because it sought "to promote Islam and discourage un-Islamic practices as Western education is not the type of education permitted by Allah and his holy Prophet."
Following the abduction, government officials suspected criminals known as bandits to be behind the attack. The bandits have remained active in the region for years. However, on Tuesday, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.
Last Friday's raid witnessed over 100 gunmen carrying AK-47s and storming the Government Science Secondary School in the outskirts of Kankara and abducting 333 schoolboys, according to government officials. However, the number of kidnapped children was believed to be was much higher. Local media, citing escaped schoolboys, reported that the captives were forced to trek for days in the forests that spread throughout north-west Nigeria and into Niger.
The abduction prompted other schools in Katsina and surrounding states to close down. Nigeria's teaching union — the National Union of Teachers — threatened to go on strike unless security in the country was boosted.
Kankara abduction brought back grim memories of the Chibok schoolgirls' kidnapping. Twitter users began trending #BringBackOurBoys in reference to a similar hashtag after the kidnappings of the schoolgirls.