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Residents: Boko Haram Kidnaps 8 More Girls

Residents of a northern Nigerian village say Boko Haram Islamist militants have kidnapped eight more girls.

The residents of Warabe say gunmen stormed their village Sunday and kidnapped the girls. They say the men also stole food and livestock.

Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for grabbing more than 300 schoolgirls last month from the town of Chibok. Some managed to escape but 276 are still missing.

Boko Haram leader Abubaker Shekau released a video in which he appears to be taunting the girls' parents. He smiled as he said "I abducted your girls," and then added that the group intends to sell them.



Unconfirmed reports say some of the girls have been "married" to their captors, while others may have been sent across the border into Cameroon and Chad.

Boko Haram means "Western civilization is a sin" in the Hausa language. The group has killed thousands trying to set up a conservative Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

At the State Department In Washington Tuesday, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the girls are the future of Nigeria, and she called what happened to them "devastating."

Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States is sending police and hostage negotiation experts to Nigeria. He said he spoke to President Goodluck Jonathan who is said to be happy to get the help.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said his government is offering "practical help" to Nigeria.

President Jonathan said he ordered his top security officials to do all they could to secure the girls' release.

Some Nigerians are accusing the government of not doing enough to free the girls. But ruling People's Democratic Party spokesman Abdullahi Jalo tells VOA that Mr. Jonathan is doing everything possible.

A spokesman for U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay says the kidnappers could face charges of crimes against humanity if they carry out the threat to sell the kidnapped girls. The spokesman calls it "one of the most serious crimes" that exist.

( OPTIONAL SOUNDBITES )

Jay Carney, White House spokesman:

"Our counterterrorism assistance to Nigeria focuses on information sharing, on improving Nigeria's forensics and investigative capacity. It also stresses the importance of protecting civilians and ensuring that human rights are protected and respected. We are working with the Nigerian government to strengthen its criminal justice system and increase confidence in the government by supporting its efforts to hold those responsible for violence accountable."

William Hague, British Foreign Secretary:

"What has happened here with the actions of Boko Haram in using girls as the spoils of war, the spoils of terrorism is disgusting, it is immoral, it should show everybody across the world that they should not give any support to such a vile organization."

Abdullahi Jalo, spokesman, Nigerian People's Democratic Party:

"He reaffirmed to people that no matter what, the government will spend its last blood, its last effort to see that these people, these girls, are returned to their loved ones."

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