A man claiming to be the leader of Boko Haram said the terrorist group was responsible for kidnapping scores of schoolboys in northwestern Nigeria on Friday, according to a short audio message shared with Nigerian media and reviewed by CNN.
“I am Abubakar Shekau and our brothers are behind the kidnapping in Katsina,” said the man in the recording. Shekau is the leader of one of Boko Haram’s factions.
CNN was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the message.
Some 337 students are still unaccounted for after an attack on the Government Science Secondary School Kankara, a state government spokesman told CNN on Monday.
The message claimed that Boko Haram had targeted the school because of the group’s long-held aim to stop “western” education in northern Nigeria, but a government official told CNN on Monday that the kidnappers had been in touch with a teacher of the school, raising the prospect of a ransom negotiation.