ABUJA, May 14 (Xinhua) -- A total of 77 out of more than 200 school girls abducted in Nigeria have been identified in a video showing the captives, posted by Boko Haram this week, a state spokesman said on Wednesday.
Parents, school officials and school mates of the abducted girls identified faces of the captives when the video was made available at the Government House in Maiduguri, capital of the northeastern state of Borno, according to Isa Gusau, spokesman of the government.
"So far 77 of the girls in the video have been identified by their names at an exercise that involved some parents of the girls, fellow students that include escapees from abduction, some teachers, security men and some officials of government," said Gusau in a statement.
Prior to the open identification exercise which began on Tuesday, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State had, after watching the video by Boko Haram, directed a re-production of it for public viewing by parents and mates of the abducted students.
The video showed some girls reciting Arabic verses, dressed in hijab, in a secluded area with the voice of a man being heard in the background. The man, who posed as Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram who was reported dead by the Nigerian military more than six months ago, said the sect would not free the girls until its fighters in detention had been freed.
He said all the girls had converted to Islam. The girls shown in the video appeared unhurt.
"All the girls in the video are believed to be part of the abducted girls, but Governor Shettima has insisted that the names of all the girls in the video must be established and compared with school and security records. The comparison will be done today (Wednesday) as identification exercise continues through the night until every person in that video is named," Gusau added.
The girls were abducted exactly a month ago in their hostels by gunmen who stormed the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok Town, Borno State. Boko Haram, a sect which partly seeks to abolish Western education in Nigeria, claimed responsibility for the abduction more than a week ago and threatened to sell off the girls.
Many international bodies had offered assistance to Nigeria, following the mass abduction. A worldwide campaign Bring Back Our Girls had also been calling for the unconditional release of the school girls.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, is currently grappling with security challenges, one of which is the insurgency of Boko Haram, which also seeks to enshrine the Islamic Sharia law in the constitution.
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