News / Africa

More Than 60 Kidnapped Women Escape in Nigeria

Heather Murdock

Authorities in Nigeria say more than 60 women kidnapped in mid-June escaped during the weekend from their presumed Boko Haram captors.  But hundreds of other girls kidnapped in April remain missing.  Women and girls were kidnapped when Boko Haram attacked the village of Kummabza in northern Borno state.

The escape of the kidnapped women is one bright spot, but hundreds of other girls kidnapped in April remain missing.  And it appears the five-year-old Boko Haram insurgency is getting deadlier and more far reaching.

A vigilante fighting Boko Haram, Abbas Gava, said the captives fled Friday after militants left their camp to attack a military barracks and police station in the town of Damboa.


A high-level security source in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, said about half the women have returned to their homes, while the others were in the custody of soldiers in the town of Gulak.

Following the arrest of three women last week, Nigerian security forces said they were tracking a "female wing" of Boko Haram.
Tony Mezeh, who is a lawyer, said,  "Right now in Nigeria the security situation is worsening and we are beginning to see the militants are women.  They co-opt women in.  They employ children, youths.  So we do not know who is who."
He said usually confined to the northeast, the insurgency was also spreading geographically.

Since April, three bombs have killed more than 100 people in the Nigerian capital.  Two of the attacks were in a bus station, and the third at a mall in a wealthy central neighborhood.
Boko Haram militants claimed responsibility for the first bus station bombing in late April, as well as abducting more than 200 schoolgirls, who remain missing.
General supervisor Dandison Nwankwa of the Izu Chukwu bus company in the oil-rich Niger Delta, said if militants ccould strike in the heart of Nigeria's capital, Abuja, he feared they may seek to attack the Niger Delta, the heart of the country's economy.
"We have put in place measures in our own internal security system to avert all these incidents happening in other places," said Nwankwa.

He said his company required every bus passenger to be searched before boarding and homeless people were no longer allowed to sleep in the bus station.
"Without searching, all the passengers will not be allowed to enter the vehicle until the vehicle decides to move, so that somebody will not infiltrate something inside the bus," said Nwankwa.
Boko Haram has killed thousands of people in five years of attacks.  The group says it wants to impose its own harsh version of Islamic law, but most of its victims have been Muslims.  
Lawyer Mezeh said churches have also been frequent targets, and many churches recently imposed bans on handbags, as part of non-government efforts to fight the insurgency.
"These measures that women should not carry bags to churches, people should not be allowed to sleep in motor-parks, people should not be allowed to sleep in [un]completed buildings.  They are all pro-active measures to ensure that we do not allow these hoodlums to mill around us," he said.
Nigeria is Africa's largest oil exporter, an industry that earns most of the country's national budget.  Boko Haram has never attacked oil-producing regions in the south, but it has threatened to.
Boko Haram frequently carries out the terror it promises, but it has also made unrealistic threats, including against foreign heads-of-state, both living and dead.  

(Hilary Uguru contributed to this report from the Niger Delta and Abdulkareem Haruna contributed to this report from Maiduguri.)

View the interactive timeline

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Laurie Corvillion from: United States of America
July 09, 2014 9:45 AM
I like Earths idea of calling these terrorists different misspelled variations. What I would like to call them can't be printed. Here's my first one; Boohoo Mental, Booger Hawkers, and of course; Bad People Dead, including the woman that help these groups.

by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
July 07, 2014 2:00 PM
Save the girls of Nigeria

by: The O
July 07, 2014 11:42 AM
and they're all coming to America
In Response

by: Connie from: NY
July 07, 2014 1:39 PM
Just as all the Europeans did more than 400 years ago.

by: Christy Song from: nigeria
July 07, 2014 9:37 AM
I do not know why the so called boko arham is been put on headline news since it will make them important.As for me nothing about them should be mention for they do not exist any more.they have become extinct.
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 07, 2014 11:44 PM
That would be correct! If the media truly cared, then they would continually misspell Boko Haram! Book Harm, Bobo Hagum, anything! These diseases around the world love the attention, and it does embolden them!

by: Dr. Evan Canbert from: Czech Republic
July 07, 2014 8:58 AM
Oh, but THESE aren't REAL muslims. These are FUNDAMENTALIST muslims. Real Islam, of course, is a religion of peace... right?

by: Laurie Corvillion from: Chicago ILLinois
July 07, 2014 8:53 AM
I am still waiting for the freedom of the girls taken in April. Have the government's that sent rescue squads given up? These people are dangerous, (Boko Haram )and need to be dealt with. The only thing that the girls are good for, in their captives eyes, is breeding. Stop the problem before it begins.

In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 08, 2014 12:20 AM
They kidnapped these babies because they cannot get a woman of their own. They aren't men, just animals. I think Goodluck Jonathan got his choice from the kidnapped girls! Other than that, he should have led the charge against this disease called Boko Haram! He hasn't done not even a drop of what he should be doing to annihilate these animals and get back as many girls as possible!!!! Jonathan has denied extreme US intervention that oucld eliminate this evil in just one day! Why not Mr Goodluck? Afraid of any of the girls getting harmed or killed? Have you lost your mind! What they are going through right now, because of your inabilities, is worse than death!!!!!

by: Point from: India
July 07, 2014 8:48 AM
Was it really necessary to reveal the vigilante's name?
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 07, 2014 11:09 PM
That's right Peter! Abbas Gava is obviously telling the rest of the Nigerians to STAND UP AND FIGHT THIS DISEASE!!!!
In Response

by: Peter from: Uk
July 07, 2014 9:19 AM
Abbas Gava makes no secret of his name, why should VOA?

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs