1 1 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A chilling new video from Nigeria's Boko Haram extremist group shows dozens of abducted schoolgirls, covered in Muslim veils and praying in Arabic.

It's the first sight of the girls since more than 300 were kidnapped from their school four weeks ago today. Fifty-three of the girls escaped, 276 remain missing.

A State Department official says there is no reason to question the authenticity of that video. Intelligence experts are now analyzing every detail to try to determine the girls' location.

Boko Haram's leader says the girls have been converted to Islam. And in this newly released video, roughly 100 captives are seen reciting Muslim prayers, in Arabic.

In one clip, a girl is asked to give her new Muslim name and condemn Christianity.

The leader of the extremist group is demanding the release of all Boko Haram militants held in Nigerian jails in exchange for the freedom of the schoolgirls.

The kidnappings sparked worldwide outrage and protests, including one last week outside the Nigerian Embassy in Washington.

There are also desperate pleas from the mothers of the missing girls. One woman said: I believe the government can wipe away our tears.

White House officials say the American team helping with the search includes 30 people, from the State and Defense Departments, along with the FBI.

The international effort to rescue the girls appears to be gaining momentum. In addition to the United States, Britain, France and China are all involved in the search.

Written by Andrea McCarren, WUSA9

1 1 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://on.wusa9.com/1gfUIfr