Boko Haram is seeking a ransom of nearly £40m for the release of the 219 schoolgirls that it kidnapped from the Nigerian town of Chibok two years ago, sources close to the group have told The Sunday Telegraph.
The terror sect is thought to have issued the demand during secret contacts with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has said he is willing to negotiate for the girls’ freedom.
“The ransom demand has split the government,” said the source. “Some think it would be worth it just to resolve the Chibok situation, but others say it will simply allow Boko Haram to hire yet more insurgent recruits.”
“The girls are asked what their Christian names are and what their new Muslim names are,” he said, referring to the “conversion” that Boko Haram forces Christian prisoners to undergo. “They are also asked if they have been raped or mistreated, but they say no – they look relaxed.”Asked about the ransom demand, diplomats said only that they were aware of “rumours” of contacts of various sorts.