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US Lawmakers Discuss Boko Haram Insurgency

  • VOA News

FILE - Burnt vehicles and houses are pictured on a street, after Boko Haram militants raided the town of Benisheik, west of Borno State capital Maiduguri.
A U.S. House panel is set to get an update on Nigeria's Boko Haram insurgency, as residents in the northeastern Borno state region grapple with another reported kidnapping by the militant group.

The House foreign affairs subcommittee meets Wednesday to discuss issues including conditions in northern Nigeria, where the militants have been most active.

Congresswoman Karen Bass told VOA the panel will also discuss U.S. efforts to help Nigeria fight the militants.

"There are different things that we are doing to help in terms of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance -- all of that. But, again, it is a little bit touchy when the country that you are working with is not necessarily wanting you to be that involved," said Bass.

The meeting comes on the heels of another suspected kidnapping by Boko Haram, in the same region where it abducted more than 200 school girls in April.

Witnesses say gunmen drove into the northeastern Garkin Fulani settlement and forced at least 20 women into their vehicles. They say the abductions took place on Thursday.

On Tuesday, National Information Center coordinator Mike Omeri said security officials had not received any reports of a kidnapping in the region.

Nigeria's military has come under growing criticism that it is not doing enough to stop attacks by Boko Haram, a group blamed for thousands of deaths during its five-year insurgency.

On Monday, the military said its troops have stopped raids on several northeastern villages where the militants have been active.

The military said soldiers had averted attempted raids on villages in Borno and Adamawa states last weekend and killed more than 50 militants.

The Nigerian government has struggled to contain Boko Haram despite a state of emergency in the northeast and the deployment of thousands of troops to the area.