A video purportedly showing some girls kidnapped by Nigeria-based terror group Boko Haram is a strategy used by the group's contested leader Abubakar Shekau to show he still controls the group, a security analyst has told IBTimes UK. The footage released by Boko Haram on 14 August shows around 50 of the nearly 300 schoolgirls kidnapped by the group in 2014.
In the video, a Boko Haram militant called on the government to release militants who had been arrested in return for the release of the girls.
The video came as Boko Haram split into two factions after the group's ally, the Islamic State (Isis), appointed Abu Musab Al-Barnawi as its new leader. Abubakar Shekau, who has been leading the group since 2009, denied he had been replaced and vowed to continue his fight.
New video is a strategy
David Otto, chief executive of global security provider TGS Intelligence Consultants, believes the latest video could be a strategy used by Shekau to show he is still in power.
"This is a strategy. These girls had been spread around different cells under the control of Abubakar Shakau at the time of abduction – with the current factional split it is likely that some of them are no longer under his control. Shakau is showing desperation and signs of distress," Otto said.
He added that Shekau could also be using the video to show he goes against IS directives, that are against any form of negotiation or dialogue with the government.
Nigeria 'on top of situation'
Following the emergence of the video, Nigeria's information minister Lai Mohammed said the government was dealing with Boko Haram's request.
"We are on top of the situation. But we are being extremely careful because the situation has been compounded by the split in the leadership of Boko Haram," he said in a statement. "We are also being guided by the need to ensure the safety of the girls," Mohammed said. ''Since this is not the first time we have been contacted over the issue, we want to be doubly sure that those we are in touch with are who they claim to be."