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Video of Nigerian Schoolgirls Kidnapped by Boko Haram; Strong Earthquake on Japan's Kyushu Island. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired April 15, 2016 - 17:00:00   ET


[17:00:00] MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, reaction to a CNN exclusive. A proof of life live video for some of the Chibok schoolgirls

kidnapped two years ago by Boko Haram. One Nigerian senator and former negotiator tells me the video is credible.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that there is a need to explore the options of negotiations to ensure that the girls are brought back home alive.


HOLMES: And I speak with General Carter Ham, former head of U.S. Africa Command about the possibility of a rescue operation.


HOLMES: Good evening everyone welcome to our special weekend program. I'm Michael Holmes sitting in for Christiane Amanpour. Now this week, CNN

reported an exclusive story that offered hope but also provoked further pain for hundreds of families in Nigeria. Video obtained by CNN showing at

least some of the schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok in northern Nigeria by the Boko Haram terror group two years ago this week were alive as recently

as December.

Nearly 300 girls were kidnapped except for a handful who has escaped, they are still missing, and the fate of those not shown in this video, unknown.

The campaign and hashtag "bring back our girls" has of course had worldwide attention for two years now. CNN's Nima Elbagir, producer Stephanie Busari

and photojournalist Sebastian (inaudible) are in the Nigerian capital Abuja where they obtained this video and filed this exclusive report.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lined up against a yellow wall, 15 girls only their faces showing. An off-camera voice ask each girl what's your


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign Language)


ELBAGIR: Is that name your parents recognize?


ELBAGIR: "Where were you taken from?" the voice asks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign Language)


ELBAGIR: Chibok school, and the date they say is the 25th of December 2015. This video was obtained by CNN from a person close to the negotiations to

get these girls released. To the parents, it's finally a glimmer of hope these girls are still alive.

Two years ago we met Mary Aschia (ph), Atuscatu Ayuba (ph) and Yala Galang (ph) on our visit to Chibok after the abductions of their daughters and

more than 200 other girls. We asked them if they recognize any of the girls in the video.


ELBAGIR: They lean closer. Another girl is identified, Hawa (ph). One by one they name all 15 girls. One mother, Yala (ph) realizes her daughter

isn't there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign Language)

ELBAGIR: The off camera voice asking the questions as familiar to CNN as that of Boko Haram's spokesman, Abu Zinara (ph). A source close to

negotiations between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government said the video was provided by the terror group as an asked-for show of good fauth.

Nigeria's information minister told CNN they have received the video but are still reviewing it.

LAI MOHAMMED, NIGERIA'S INFORMATION MINISTER: If you study the video, you follow the questions were asked in a rather very controlled environment

that's why we are bit concerned too that after two years in captivity, the girls in the video were under no stress whatsoever. There has been little

transformation through their physical appearance.

ELBAGIR: Is your government negotiating with Boko Haram for the release of these girls?

MOHAMMED: There are ongoing talks. We cannot ignore offers. We cannot ignore leads. But of course, many of these investigations are, you know,

are not be disclose, you know, openly because it could also endanger, you know, the negotiations.

ELBAGIR: We took the video to a classmate of the Chibok girls. She'd been at home with family the day the other girls were kidnapped. For her safety,

we're not showing her face and not using her name. She told us there's no doubt these are some of her kidnapped classmates.

[17:05:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATED): These two were prefects. Watching the video, I'm reminded of how we used to play together, how we

use to do chores, do our homework.

ELBAGIR: She says, seeing her friends again will likely give her nightmares.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (TRANSLATED): Sometimes still, if I hear news about them, I have bad dreams and I wake up crying.

ELBAGIR: The video ends with the girl addressing the camera with a message to the Nigerian government. "We are all well," she says, pointedly, perhaps

suggesting girls not seen in this video. She then delivers what sounds like a scripted plea urging the Nigerian government to fulfill unspecified


For the mothers of these girls, rapidly becoming women far from home, the video is overwhelming. They say they just want someone to bring their

daughters home. Nima Elbagir, CNN, Maiduguri, Nigeria.


HOLMES: Shehu Shani is a senator from the north of Nigeria, where Boko Haram is based, and he has been involved in repeated efforts to negotiate

with the extremist group. He joined me from the capital Abuja.


HOLMES: Senator Shehu Shani, thanks for being on the program. This proof of life video is clearly significant when it comes to negotiations to get the

girls back and in fact suggest that negotiations are indeed ongoing. What do you know of the state of the talks, reports of demand for money, and so


SHEHU SHANI, NIGERIAN SENATOR: Well, first of all, I will say that this video is credible and it affirms the very fact that the girls are alive and

there is hope that they will get back home someday. It also sends a clear message that those who we are thinking -- and there was no abduction, that

there was actually an abduction that happened there two years ago.

Negotiations at this stage have been frozen. The military campaign is emphasized by the government and I believe that there is a need to explore

the options of negotiations to ensure that the girls are brought back home, alive.

HOLMES: Obviously, the girls are valuable to Boko Haram. The question is going to be, what would the group want in return? Would it be money? Would

it be the release of perhaps captured leaders and would the government be willing to pay the price?

SANI: Well, in the last three to four credible negotiations with the group on the issue of the girls, they were emphasizing on the need to release

their members that have been in detention for years. And the issue of ransom came very late.

What is most important is to get these girls out. There are three ways to which we can get them out. One is to negotiate and secondly is to use

force, but the use of force comes with implications and the consequences. And then thirdly, is to use force and continue to open the door of

negotiation, which I believe the third option is what is very much needed. We need to continue to use force to show it clearly to the (inaudible) that

they can win militarily. And also to open the door for negotiation, which will make it possible for these girls to be brought back home alive.

HOLMES: You are yourself, a former negotiator. I'm curious, when it comes to a group like Boko Haram, how do you know who you're negotiating with,

whether it's a group or a leader who can actually deliver what they might be promising because in some cases, it's been shown that negotiations are

with people who can't deliver.

SANI: Well, what has always been the problems in the last few months or years has been the very fact that they are scums. Negotiators most times

come in and make claims and don't deliver. And I think this is what we should be very careful at this very time. But the very fact that we can get

such a credible video from some sources, it shows that those very sources, elements that need to be used, to be utilized, to be able to achieve the

goal of getting these girls out.

HOLMES: You said that you hope that Muhammadu Buhari's presidency coming after Goodluck Jonathan, you hoped that he's new presidency would usher in

a fresh beginning in terms of trying to get the girls out. They're not out so, has the administration failed in some respect? It says it has

technically defeated Boko Haram and yet here we are talking about hundreds of abducted girls.

[17:10:00] SANI: When President Muhammad Buhari took over -- and that is when we came to the office as parliamentarians -- a section of our country

was taken over by the insurgent group. They hoisted their flags and even unleashing their version of theocratic Islamic rule.

But now, with funding for the military and the morale is high and support by the government to the army, they've been able to push them back and most

of the cities in the northeast is safe. Buhari has not been able to achieve 100 percent success, but he has made serious progress. But I believe that

he can still achieve more with the very fact that now they know clearly they cannot win militarily and the option is to look for other ways. And

there is no other way, what I've done for them to agree to negotiate on the release of these girls.

HOLMES: There are hundreds and hundreds of other who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram, I think in one incident last year, they abducted 400 people

including 300 elementary school students -- this was in a town in the northeast. So, this is a massive problem, not just about the Chibok girls,


SANI: Well, the campaign for the release of the Chibok girls is very much (inaudible). It keeps the issue on the spotlight and also keeps people in

the position of power on their feet. Without that very campaign, the issue of Chibok would have easily been forgotten. So, the agitations for the

release of the girls come to symbolize the civil resistance against the insurgency.

And I believe what is very much needed is for the campaign to continue. The government has been pressurized to continue to maintain an action because

they know very well that there is a group outside that is consistently and continuously sensitizing and mobilizing the people to keep watch and keep

government on its toes.

HOLMES: Senator Shehu Sani, vice chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I want to thank you so much for joining us on the program.

SANI: You're welcome Mr. Holmes.


HOLMES: And when we come back, what other military options for rescuing the Chibok girls and can the west help, we'll explore the options next.


JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL SHOW HOST: Hello, I'm Jonathan Mann, this is CNN News Now. Very little information but crucially no new deaths have

been reported since the magnitude 7.0 earthquake rattled Japan's Kyushu Island early Saturday. It is now daylight and we're getting our first

glimpse of what we can see with sunlight, and sunlight is revealing some enormous devastation.

You can see there evidence of what looks like a landslide. This is the same region hit by a 6.2 quake barely 26 or 20 hours earlier that killed nine

people. The evidence we have from TV Asahi is that, well, look at this. We're not seeing the urban areas but Kamamoto, city of a million people was

also struck, and other urban areas could feel the tremor as far as Tokyo 900 km away.

Emergency officials say air and land teams are out conducting rescues and some 200 homes in one prefecture are without power. Once again, the

indications we have is that even in Kamamoto city of a million people, there are only several thousand who are seeking shelter. That is

potentially a very good sign. Japan's building codes are strict. The nation is prepared for earthquakes and may have come through this one, a 7.0 in a

surprisingly robust shape.

Saturday's quake, measured magnitude 7, once again it came just two days after earlier earthquake magnitude 6.2. We spoke with the geophysicist

about the difference between those two events. Okay, don't have that sound bite, we're going to bring you Amanpour, it gets to where why we continue

(ph), right now.


[17:15:00] HOLMES: Welcome back to the program everyone. Two years after Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in northern Nigeria, the girls'

whereabouts still remain unknown. And the Islamist militants continue their violent attacks. Now, since the story broke, there has been increasing

pressure on the Nigerian government for answers. President Muhammadu Buhari has made military strides against Boko Haram but his army seems no nearer

to rescuing these girls. Retired general Carter Ham was head of U.S. Africa Command from 2011 to 2013. He joined me from Washington D.C.


HOLMES: You spoke with Christiane on this program more than a year ago and you talked to the Nigerian army's inability to counter Boko Haram on its

own. The need for a regional response and here we are again. What has changed since that conversation?

CARTER HAM, FORMER U.S. AFRICA COMMAND COMMANDER: Well, Michael, I think that a number of things have changed. There is of course the change in

government and the presidency in Nigeria, which is been encouraging. There seems to me that there is an improvement in the Nigerian military and

perhaps most importantly is that this is indeed a broader regional effort while Nigeria bears primary responsibility.

They are operating in close coordination with their partners from Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Benin and the Multinational Joint Task Force, and there is

a wide array of support from other international partners -- the United Kingdom and United States amongst them. So, I think while it is

heartbreaking to watch those -- what those parents are going through -- that there are at least some indicators of things moving in a more

positive, more cohesive direction.

HOLMES: You know the administration itself has said that it has technically defeated Boko Haram and yet here we are still talking about these girls.

And let's face it, hundreds and hundreds of others as well and is it unfair to, you know, to suggest that surely there should have been more progress

in terms of getting those girls back if it was indeed a main priority as the government says. Should there not have been more progress?

HAM: Well, no way should be satisfied until all of the Chibok girls and all the many hundreds or thousands of others who have been abducted are

returned to their families and Boko Haram is soundly defeated. Again, there has been progress. Boko Haram no longer controls wide swaths of territory

in the northern portion of Nigeria which they have before.

There have been some successes by the Nigerian military and by the militaries and security forces of other nations, but this is an exceedingly

complex operation. I think the general consensus that from the very start the girls have probably been widely dispersed, that makes finding them

increasingly difficult.

HOLMES: I want talk a bit more about that actually, the tactical challenges since you mentioned it. The army itself -- and you're quite right -- has

proved itself capable of conducting offensive. In some cities and towns, there has been success to be fair, but the Sambisa Forest where the girls

are thought to be, that's another challenge entirely. It is dense, it is remote, it is vast. Will you speak to that from a military standpoint about

the tactical challenges that forest.

HAM: Certainly, I think it as you describe. It is technically a very difficult problem to solve and one of the challenges is that -- is that if

a small group or a pocket of the girls or others who have been captured has been identified, were the government to move against that group and rescue

them, would doing that present an increased risk to the girls and others who are held in other places.

So again, these are exceedingly difficult decisions the tactical commanders and ultimately the government of Nigeria must wrestle with. And it


HOLMES: So, what would a rescue operation look like?

HAM: Well, it starts Michael with -- the first thing that has to happen is you have to find them. That takes increased levels of surveillance,

networks, intelligence both technical, meeting surveillance capabilities, signals interception, and most importantly, human intelligence, which has

to come from Nigeria and the regions of the nation.

HOLMES: You also spoke last time you were on the program about the Nigerian military's capabilities and those capabilities have been made (ph). It's

long been claimed they've not invested enough in things like training, modernizing even uniforms in some cases, and also leadership. Are those

criticisms still valid or you've seen advances in those areas?

[17:20:00] HAM: Well, there certainly have been improvements. It was not too long ago when Nigerian soldiers actually mutinied against their leaders

because of concerns about not being paid, not being trained, not being equipped, not having ammunition. So, that seems to have largely been

addressed and adjusted in a most effective way so, there are clearly improvements in the capabilities of the Nigerian military.

But again, we shouldn't think that these -- that these challenges can be remedied in one year. This will take a long time to rebuild the

capabilities of the Nigerian military that are required for operations such as this.


HOLMES: And while the Chibok kidnapped shines a light on Boko Haram, it is just one of their many crimes. There is increasing evidence that they are

using kidnapped girls as human bombs and their bit of war. It is one of the tactics used against Cameroonian troops fighting Boko Haram on the border

there. CNN's David McKenzie travelled with those troops and saw for himself.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Crossing into Nigeria on foot with Cameroonian soldiers headed to a remote outpost overlooking the fight

against Isis affiliated Boko Haram, the world's deadliest terrorist group. The soldiers say their forward operating positions on the mountain come

under frequent attack.

Boko Haram fighters are based in these villages in the valley, but the trouble is that positions like this can be ineffective against an

increasingly unconventional part (ph)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign Language)

MCKENZIE: So, Boko Haram still slips past the soldiers into villages like this one where they burnt out the pastor's house, destroyed the church,

kidnapped scores of girls. And further from the front, in cities like Marwa, they use abducted girls to kill. A young woman came into this market

pretending to sell wares to these vendors.

The explosion so extreme it blew off the roof. Ten people were killed. A new report says that increasingly, girls and young women are being used in

these attacks.

The UNICEF numbers show that their attacks have increased tenfold with Cameroon targeted the most. Now, the market is often empty. Abdurakman (ph)

witnessed the last attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign Language)

MCKENZIE: Even they escape abduction, young girls like Matawasa (ph) suffer. Both her parents were shot by Boko Haram.


MCKENZIE: More a million children like had been displaced by this war. To protect their school on the edge of the red zone vigilante teams patrol,

setting up checkpoints armed with rudimentary weapons. They check every stranger to stop terror attacks, especially girls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign Language)

MCKENZIE: It's a society turned on its head. Girls should be protected. Here in the far north Cameroon, they are feared.


HOLMES: When we come back on the program, the campaign that is making sure the Chibok captives are not forgotten. "Bring back our girls" going

worldwide, next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If social media had become such a huge phenomenon when you had started designing, how do you think you would have used it to your


CALVIN KLEIN, FASHION DESIGNER: I would have created images that people would, just their jaw would drop because they would be so amazing. Even on

a phone, you can create something that's so exciting that when people show me all the photos that they take, I get bored out of my mind. They're just

photos. I want to see something that's graphic, that's art directed, that's lit perfectly. It's so much about photography than just this.


HOLMES: And finally tonight, imagine a world coming together in support of stolen lives. It has been two years since Boko Haram abducted nearly 300

schoolgirls from their dormitories in Chibok, an unconscionable (ph) act that sparked the "Bring Back our Girls Movement" across the world, with

millions taking to social media to keep the spotlight on the girls' disappearance -- from First Lady Michelle Obama to education activist

Malala Yousafzai.

The girls parent's waited two years for any sign of them until this week, a video obtained by CNN showing some of the girls were alive as recently as

December, offering new hope to at least some families. And as their agonizing wait continues, so will the campaign to keep up pressure on the

Nigerian government promise to bring the girls home. They are still missing but they are not forgotten.

And that is our program tonight and remember, you can listen to our podcasts. See us online and follow me on Twitter @holmescnn.

Thanks for watching and goodbye from the CNN Center.