JOHANNESBURG -- Hope of finding the 200 schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Islamic militants in Nigeria diminished even further today. Back in April their plight was a sensation with pleas for their rescue from all over the world. First Lady Michelle Obama and Hollywood celebrities joined that chorus.
What became of all of that?
There has been no trace of the kidnapped schoolgirls for nearly seven months now, despite Nigeria's assurances a rescue operation was underway.
Boko Haram leader Abubaker Shekau has released a new video mocking any attempts to find them.
"We have married them off," he said, speaking in Hausa. "They are all in their marital homes."
The girls were abducted from their school on the eve of their final exams. It sparked a world wide campaign for their release. Under immense pressure, the Nigerian government made a suprise announcement more than two weeks ago that a truce had been reached -- an end to Boko Haram's reign of violence, and a return of the girls to their desperate families.
But Shekau emphatically states there never was a truce.
"Only battle," he said. "Hitting, striking and kiling with a gun."
In July, a former negotiator told CBS News "imagine the worst and it has happened." He said there were reports that many of the girls had been repeatedly raped, and others were sent across the border to neighboring Chad and Cameroon. It appears this may have been right.
So why did the government announce they had a truce?
It looks like Nigerian government has been scammed. CBS News spoke to a man who had direct knowledge of the rescue talks. He told us the authorities paid millions of dollars to a person fraudulently representing Boko Haram but actually had no power to secure the release of the kidnapped girls.
CBS News made repeated calls to the government, which kept promising to respond, but they all went unanswered today.
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