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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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 Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More