News / Africa

Suspected Boko Haram Militants Kidnap Dozens in Nigeria

A member of the Abuja
A member of the Abuja "Bring Back Our Girls" protest group addresses a sit-in demonstration organized by the group at the Unity Fountain in Abuja, Nigeria, June 23, 2014.
VOA News
Suspected Boko Haram militants have abducted more than 60 women and young girls, as well as 31 boys, in restive northeast Nigeria, a local official and a vigilante leader said on Tuesday.

The group was kidnapped in the last week during a Boko Haram attack on Kummabza village in the Damboa district of Borno state, which left at least 30 dead, according to residents who escaped the violence.
 
Nigerian security forces, which at first denied the kidnappings, are now looking into the alleged abductions.

An officer with Nigeria's Department of Security Services confirmed to VOA that abductions had occurred in the region. But the official, who did not want to be publicly identified, said the number of people missing had not been firmly established. 

The latest abductions are certain to fuel public frustration over Abuja's inability to quell Boko Haram's five-year campaign to carve out an Islamist state in the mainly Muslim north.

Village destroyed

Kummabza resident Aji Khalil said Tuesday the abductions took place over several days last weekend in an attack during which four villagers were killed. Khalil is a member of one of the vigilante groups that have had some success in repelling Boko Haram attacks with primitive weapons.

Khalil said suspected Boko Haram militants took about 60 married women and girls, some as young as 3, and 31 boys from the villages of Kummabza, Yaga and Dagu, all in Borno state, as reported by local Nigerian media.

"Four villagers who tried to escape were shot dead on the spot," Khalil said.

​A senior officer in the Damboa local government, who asked for his name to be withheld as he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said: "Over 60 women were hijacked and forcefully taken away by the terrorists.
 

 "The village was also destroyed. Some of the survivors who do not have means of transporting themselves, especially old women and men, trekked to Lassa, in the Askira-Uba local government area of Borno state, 25 kilometers (away)," the officer said.

Another resident, who fled to the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, and also requested anonymity, told the French news agency AFP: "Over 30 men were killed during the raid, which lasted for nearly four days. Most men fled for their lives.
 
"The attackers held the whole village hostage for the next three days," the resident said.

There was no way to safely and independently confirm the report from Kummabza, 150 kilometers (95 miles) from Maiduguri, headquarters of a military state of emergency that has failed to curtail near-daily attacks by Boko Haram fighters.

Borno violence
Major attacks blamed on Nigeria's Boko Haram

2009
  • July - Attacks prompt government crackdown in Bauchi and Maiduguri; 800 people killed
 
2010
  • December - Bombings in central Nigeria and church attacks in the northeast kill 86
 
2011
June - Attack on a bar in Maiduguri kills 25
August - Suicide bomber kills 23 at U.N. building in Abuja
November - Bombings in Damaturu and Potiskum kill 65
December - Christmas Day bombings across Nigeria kill 39
 
2012
  • January -- Gun and bomb attacks in Kano up to 200
  • February - Maiduguri market attack kills 30
  • June - Suicide car bombings at three churches kill 21
  • July - Attacks in Plateau state kill dozens, including two politicians at a funeral for the victims
 
2013
  • February - French family kidnapped in Cameroon, held hostage for two months
  • April - Fighting with troops in Baga kills up to 200; residents say troops set deadly fires
  • May - Attacks in Bama kill more than 50
  • July - Gunmen kill 30 at a school in Yobe
  • August - Gunmen kill 44 at a mosque outside Maiduguri
  • September - Gunmen kill 40 students at a post-secondary school in Yobe
  • December - Militants attack military installations in Maiduguri
 
2014
  • January - Militants kill 74 people and burn down a village in attacks in Borno and Adamawa
  • February - Gunmen kill as many as 60 in attack on school in Yobe
  • April - Militants abduct 276 schoolgirls
  • June - Gunmen kill hundreds in massacres in Borno


The abductions are the latest to take place in Borno, which has been worst affected by the Islamist group's increasingly deadly, five-year insurgency.

Nigeria's government and military have attracted widespread criticism for their slow response to the abductions of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped April 15.

The Chibok abduction triggered a groundswell of outrage within Nigeria that spread overseas, leading to a social media campaign and international pressure on the government to act.
 
A number of countries, including the United States, are now involved in the search effort led by the Nigerian military.
 
Boko Haram has been demanding the release of detained members in exchange for the girls, but President Goodluck Jonathan has said he will not consider a swap.

Ryan Cummings, a South Africa-based security analyst for Red 24, said the latest kidnappings could be a way for Boko Haram to redirect international focus on the Chibok hostages.
 
"It seemed that with international and domestic focus on the issue waning, so has the Nigerian government's efforts in finding a resolution to the hostage situation," he told AFP by email.

"The latest abduction, if confirmed, may be an attempt by Boko Haram to both resume and expedite hostage negotiations," Cummings wrote.

A strategy to rescue the girls appears to have reached an impasse. Nigeria's military has said it knows where they are but fears their abductors would kill them if any military action is taken.

Politics have also bedeviled the issue, with many distracted by upcoming presidential elections in February 2015.

The first lady, Patience Jonathan, and some other supporters have claimed the reports of the April abductions of the schoolgirls were fabricated to discredit her husband's administration.

April 15 kidnapping

Last week, a presidential committee investigating the kidnappings stressed that they did in fact happen and clarified the number of students who have been kidnapped.

It said there were 395 students at the school, 119 escaped during the siege of the school, another 57 escaped in the first couple of days of their abduction, leaving 219 unaccounted for.

This year, the Boko Haram insurgents have embarked on a two-pronged strategy - bombing in cities and a scorched-earth policy in rural areas where they are devastating villages.

Nigeria's capital, Abuja, the central city of Jos and the northeastern state capital of Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, all have been bombed.

Nigerian government spokesman Mike Omeri said to VOA that Nigerian law enforcement officers have stepped up security after a bomb blast at a college campus killed at least eight people and wounded 20 on Monday in Kano.
 
"Our government is concerned and has ordered all forces to redouble their efforts. And, I want to assure that for every one blast, two or three have been averted by the actions of the security services,” Omeri said.
 
Police said they had detained a suspect in the blast.

It was the third bomb blast in four months in Kano, Nigeria's second largest city.

Also on Saturday, the same day as the latest abductions, scores of Boko Haram fighters attacked four other villages, near Chibok from which the girls were kidnapped. Witnesses said at least 33 villagers were killed as well as six vigilantes and about two dozen Boko Haram fighters.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.
 

You May Like

Russia Names US NGO 'Undesirable'

Prosecutors determine activities of National Endowment for Democracy to be 'undesirable,' paving the way for it to be outlawed on Russian territory More

Erdogan Vows 'Anti-Terror' Campaign in Syria, Iraq

Erdogan expressed confidence the 'necessary steps' will be taken by NATO leaders, who will meet Tuesday at Turkey's request More

North Korea: 'No Interest at All' in Nuke Deal

Senior US envoy Sydney Seiler visits Beijing Tuesday for talks on how to revive the stalled six-party nuclear talks with North Korea More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
June 26, 2014 5:15 PM
I tink dat our president have many work to dooo right will need plenty army

by: Scott from: Virginia
June 24, 2014 8:30 PM
I think it is time for the press to stop honoring Boko Haram by calling them Muslim extremists. These actions are about as far from Islamic as one can get. I assume journalists want to avoid "organized crime" because even if accurate, it is pejorative. I suggest "sectarian gang".

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
June 24, 2014 11:16 AM
Once again Nigerian army in the news for another wrong reason - mediocrity. Odd! And the bombings spreading to Kano city? Well, an emir there knows a lot about boko haram. It can only happen when an army is badly compromised, and when officers use more of air-conditioners in their offices than know how to strategize against an insurgency that mere vigilante group can defeat with machetes and clubs. Well, they said it's not happening because they want to win election, how about the refugees building up in Cameroon, those people leaving their homes for fun? It's truly a case of non-existent government headed by some guy named Goodluck Jonathan.

Since there appears to be no headway with the non-existent government in the country, maybe I can shift base and ask the owners of the religion that is troubling Nigeria and the rest of the world some questions: a poser, a query and more questions – don’t think I have the answers in case anyone out there has them. First, between Sunni and Shia islamists, who is the more troublesome, who is deadlier than the other? Second, yesterday I watched the TV and an imam - talking about the spate of bombings and kidnappings by boko haram - tried to dissociate islam from terrorism saying the religion detests violence. Can someone tell me one Islamic or islam-dominated country/region at peace with itself and neighbors?

Third, if islam is truly a religion of peace (a peaceful religion) with all the violence it is spreading everywhere, what is the true definition of peace? Fourth, if peace in the world is the model we have from islam in northeast Nigeria, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, etc., should the world truly desire peace?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs