15 August 2014

Nigeria: Boko Haram 'Carries Out Mass Abduction'

Photo: Indepth Nigeria
Boko Haram members (file photo).

Suspected Boko Haram Islamists have kidnapped scores of people from remote villages in northeast Nigeria, witnesses say. Several people were also reported to have died in the raids.

Fighters thought to belong to the Islamist militant group Boko Haram have raided fishing communities in Nigeria's far northeast, abducting some 100 people and killing several others, witnesses who survived the raids said on Friday.

The attacks in the Kukawa Local Government area in Borno state - a Boko Haram stronghold - occurred last Sunday, they said. Many of those abducted are said to have been men and boys aged between 15 and 30.

One witness, Halima Alhaji Adam, said the hostages "were forced into motorboats and taken into Chad."

A member of the vigilante force that is helping the military to fight Boko Haram, Mohammed Gava, said a number of girls and women were also taken.

Some of those abducted were reportedly later rescued in an operation by the mulitinational force from Nigeria, Chad and Niger that is nominally responsible for security in the area. The military could not be reached for comment.

Deadly project

The remote area has poor mobile phone coverage and the news of Sunday's attacks was slow to emerge. A few survivors traveled to Borno's capital, Maiduguri, where they gave an account of the abduction to reporters.

Boko Haram, which says it wants to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, is accused of killing more than 10,000 people since 2009.

The group rose to even greater notoriety after it abducted more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in southern Borno on April 14. The kidnapping drew international attention to the conflict along with offers of help from major Western powers.

Despite this, 2014 so far seems to be the deadliest year in the conflict, though it is difficult to ascertain any exact death toll.

tj/kb (Reuters, AFP)

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