10 June 2014

Nigeria: Again, Gunmen Abduct 20 Women Near Chibok

Photo: Wochit/Screenshot
Islamists hold girls kidnapped from schools.

Suspected Islamist gunmen abducted about 20 women from a nomadic settlement near Chibok where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped two months ago, a local official has said.

The ethnic Fulani women were taken after the assailants attacked a settlement known as Garkin Fulani at midday on Monday and ordered the women into their vehicles at gunpoint, Alhaji Tar, a member of the Vigilance Group of Nigeria, said in a phone interview. They were driven off to an unknown location, he said.

"We got the information that they went there and took away the women at the time none of the males was there," Tar said.

"The three young men they met there could not help the women, as the gunmen also ordered the three of them to enter the Hilux vans and took all of them away."

Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group whose insurgency against Nigeria's government has killed thousands of people over the past five years, abducted more than 200 girls from a school in Chibok in April. The U.S. and U.K. sent teams to Nigeria to help the government find the schoolgirls, and Israel and France have pledged assistance.

Calls to Borno Police Commissioner Lawal Tanko's mobile phone didn't connect when a news agency sought comment on the latest attack.

Meanwhile, troops conducting anti-terrorists campaign in North-Eastern Nigeria have averted attempted massive raid on villages in Borno and Adamawa states, killing 50 insurgents at the weekend. Four soldiers were, however, injured in the military operation.

There was also apprehension and tension in Jos on Monday as major streets around the city were blocked by security men amidst speculation that improvised explosive devices had been deposited in parts of the state capital.

This is just as the Department of State Security Services (DSS) has apprehended somebody masquerading as a front for the dreaded Boko Haram.

Coordinator, National Information Centre, Mike Omeri, on Monday in Abuja said the terrorists who were on their way to attack selected communities were ambushed by troops along Bilta, Borno State, on receiving intelligence report of the terrorists' intention.

"The suspect, who is under-going interrogation, has been going about extorting money from some influential Nigerians to be vigilant over the activities of such characters using Boko Haram as a franchise.

On his part, Director, Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, said the attack was launched on the terrorists as they filed out of the forest to embark on their mission at about 10 p.m. on Saturday.

"Over 50 terrorists died in the fierce encounter that ensued, while 30 rifles, 36 hand grenades, 7 machine guns and 11 rocket propelled grenade tubes were captured by the troops.

"Also recovered from the terrorists were over 3,500 rounds of ammunition, six smoke grenade canisters and locally fabricated guns as well as four vehicles used by the terrorists in the foiled attack.

"The four soldiers who were wounded in the operation are currently receiving medical treatment in the military medical facility," Olukolade stated.

In Jos, security agents mounted serious security checks on vehicles plying Jos major roads while roads leading to Terminus market, Jos business area, was blocked by armoured tanks as and security agencies were working to locate the explosives.

Daily Independent gathered that the entire Terminus area where trading has not been allowed since the terminus bombing of last month as well as all of Murtala Mohammed Way, Ahmadu Bello Way, Beach Road, Bank Road, and much of Central Bank Road, were affected by the closure of streets.

This action led to a gridlock leaving motorists stranded while banks were shut down for business.

Only few commercial banks at British America junction which were not affected managed to operate skeletal services and closed shop to customers by 12 noon.

The action of the security agents created apprehension in many quarters in Jos neighborhoods.

The Special Task Force (STF) Media and Information Officer, Captain Ikedichi Iweha, in a statement said the Task Force had been conducting operations around the affected areas since about 1 a.m. on Monday.

"We had to block some areas to make sure that innocent citizens don't get caught up in any act that could lead to exchange of fire, but once we are through, we will open the roads so that people can go about their normal business."

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InFocus

Gunmen Kidnap More Women in Nigeria

Islamists hold girls kidnapped from schools.

At least 20 women have been kidnapped by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram militants near Chibok where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped two months ago. Read more »