Boko Haram has today released a video that purports to show around 100 of the Nigerian schoolgirls it has kidnapped, reports the BBC, and the group's leader says they won't be freed until all imprisoned members of the terror group have been released. The 17-minute video, obtained by AFP, shows three of the girls speaking; Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau says all have converted to Islam. Meanwhile:
- Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says he is "very optimistic" that "success will soon be achieved" with international assistance, reports Reuters. Experts from the United States and the UK are already in the country assisting the search and Israel has become the latest country to offer assistance.
- But though Jonathan is now praising the assistance of other countries, it took almost a month for Nigeria to accept help, the AP finds. The UK offered to help the day after the girls were kidnapped in April, and John Kerry says the US offered help from day one. "We didn't go public about it because the consensus was that doing so would make the Nigerians less likely to accept our help," a State Department official says. Nigerian officials, however, deny that any offers of help were rejected.
- In Chibok, the town where the girls were kidnapped, the mood is one of fear and pain and parents seem barely aware that their plight has attracted international attention, the New York Times finds. "I'm not happy at all," says a mother whose 16-year-old daughter was kidnapped. "She's in the bush. I don’t know where she is right now." The militants are believed to be hiding out in a huge, snake-ridden forest nearby and some desperate parents have been searching the forest themselves, armed only with bows and arrows.