Militant Islamist group Boko Haram abducted 91 individuals during raids into several Nigerian villages over the weekend. Witnesses told the AP that married women were taken along with their children, who range anywhere from three to fifteen years of age.
A local resident said Tuesday that the kidnappings had taken place Saturday in an attack in which four villagers lost their lives defending their communities. “Some suspected Boko Haram members invaded … and kidnapped 91 persons. More than 60 married women and young girls as well as children, young men were forcefully taken away by Boko Haram terrorists. Four villagers who tried to escape were shot dead on the spot,” he told reporters.
Others said as many as 30 were killed in the mass abduction. “They went from one village to the other, killing about 30 people. They took away many children and women,” said another source.
While local officials confirmed the abductions had been successfully carried out, Nigerian security forces denied that such an event had happened.
A local official said on condition of anonymity, “More than 60 women were hijacked and forcefully taken away by the terrorists.”
“This latest kidnapping highlights the continued need for the Nigerian military, its neighbors and the international community to prevent Boko Haram from taking advantage of the border region,” said Jacob Zenn, who works as an analyst for the Jamestown Foundation. He continued, speaking about the insubordinate behavior of the Nigerian government: “It does seem like the government is overwhelmed because Boko Haram is showing that it is not only capable of dominating the border region but also carrying out major attacks in northern cities in Nigeria.”
On April 15, members of the radical Islamist group abducted over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls at their boarding school in Chibok. Last week, an investigation into the abductions announced that there were 395 students at the school, 119 had escaped during the attack, and another 57 escaped following the first couple days after their abduction, leaving 219 girls unaccounted for.
The UN said last week that Boko Haram’s militant action throughout the country has resulted in the displacement of 650,000 Nigerians.