Boko Haram militants have published a video showing three kidnapped members of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) oil exploration team, after an ambush in Maiduguri earlier this week that killed at least 50.
In the four-minute video, the trio identify themselves as being from the University of Maiduguri and call on the federal government to meet the jihadists’ demands in exchange for their safe return.
The men were part of a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) team on a mission to find commercial quantities of oil in the Lake Chad basin when they came under attack on Tuesday.
“I want to call on the acting president professor Yemi Osinbajo to come to our rescue to meet the demand,” one of the men says in the video, which he said was shot on Friday.
He attributed the attack to the Islamic State-supported Boko Haram faction headed by Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, which has promised to hit military and government targets.
“They have promised us that if their demands are met they will release us immediately to go back to the work we were caught doing,” the man added.
There was no indication of where the video was shot but the convoy came under attack near Magumeri, some 50 kilometres (31 miles) by road northwest of Maiduguri.
Most of the victims were soldiers and civilian militia members providing security.
Five members of staff from the university — two lecturers, two technologists and a driver — were also killed, vice-chancellor Ibrahim Njodi said on Friday.
University of Maiduguri spokesman Danjuma Gambo confirmed the identities of the three kidnapped men in the video.
“They are our staff but one more is yet to be accounted for,” he told AFP.
The University of Maiduguri’s vice-chancellor told reporters on Friday the university had been hesitant to send staff with the NNPC team but had been assured about security.
The al-Barnawi faction differs from fighters loyal to Boko Haram’s long-time leader Abubakar Shekau in that it disagrees with the indiscriminate targeting of civilians in suicide and bomb attacks.