Islamist terror group Boko Haram, an affiliate of the Islamic State, attacked a largely Christian village new Chibok in northeastern Nigeria on Christmas Eve and killed seven people. A teenage girl was also reportedly abducted from the village.
AFP quoted locals who said the jihadis emerged from Sambisa Forest, an area covering over 20,000 square miles where Boko Haram hides most of its forces. The attackers arrived in trucks and riding motorcycles.
Bloodshed was minimized by a timely warning to villagers from people new Sambisa who saw the attack force closing in. The jihadis are said to have stolen food from the village and burned a number of homes before returning to the forest with their captive.
The governor of Nigeria’s Borno state, Babagana Zulum, confirmed the attack on Thursday and said there may have been two kidnapping victims. Zulum put the casualty count at six dead plus three injured.
The nearby town of Chibok was the site of Boko Haram’s most notorious atrocity, the 2014 mass abduction of 276 schoolgirls. Many of them were forcibly converted to Islam and forced to “marry” Boko Haram fighters. 112 of the 276 girls remain captives of the terrorist gang five years later.
The Nigerian government was criticized both locally and internationally for not doing enough to protect the schoolgirls of Chibok. It responded by stationing troops in the town, but as the Christmas Eve raid demonstrates, the surrounding area is still highly vulnerable to Boko Haram’s depredations.
Voice of America News reported on Tuesday that villagers living in Cameroon near the Nigerian border have grown so fearful of Boko Haram abductions that they are marrying their daughters off at young ages to make them less attractive as targets.