Suspected Boko Haram militants kidnap 25 girls in Nigeria
NIGERIA: Suspected Boko Haram militants kidnapped at
least 25 girls in an attack on a remote town in north-eastern Nigeria,
witnesses said, despite talks on freeing over 200 other female hostages they
seized in April.
John Kwaghe, who witnessed the attack and lost three
daughters to the abductors, and Dorathy Tizhe, who lost two, said the
kidnappers came late in the night, forcing all the women to go with them, then
later released the older ones.
The attack cast further doubt on government reports
that it has secretly reached a temporary ceasefire with the rebels in order to
secure the release of more than 200 schoolgirls they are holding hostage.
“We are confused that hours after the so-called
ceasefire agreement has been entered between the Federal Government and Boko
Haram insurgents, our girls were abducted by the insurgents,” Kwaghe said. “We
urge the government to please help rescue our daughters without further delay,
as we are ready to die searching.”
Nearly a week after the government announced a
ceasefire deal with Boko Haram, which it said would include the release of the
girls kidnapped from the secondary school in Chibok in north-eastern Nigeria in
April, there is still no sign of them being freed.
Talks to release the schoolgirls are taking place this
week between the government and a Boko Haram representative in the Chadian
capital N’Djamena, but they are shrouded in secrecy.
In a separate attack, a bomb exploded late on
Wednesday at a bus station in the town of Azare in northern Nigeria’s Bauchi
state, killing at least five people and wounding 12, police said. They did not
comment on who was behind the attack, although Boko Haram is likely to be the
The insurgents have repeatedly bombed public places
since launching an uprising demanding an Islamic state in religiously mixed
Nigeria five years ago. They have stepped up their campaign this year, setting
off deadly blasts across the country that killed hundreds.
They have killed many thousands and are increasingly
targeting civilians in violence seen as the biggest threat to the stability of
Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer.
“Five persons burned beyond recognition were certified
dead, while 12 others sustained various degrees of injuries,” Bauchi police
spokesman Haruna Mohammed said in a statement.
“The entire surrounding (area) has been cordoned off
... No arrest has yet been made, but an investigation has commenced.” The
increasing attacks have raised doubts over the ceasefire, although Boko Haram
is so factionalized it is possible a truce has been reached with one group
while others continue with violence.
A Chadian diplomat told Reuters that a deal could
still be reached if this faction has ultimate control over the girls - although
analysts say that they could be divided between several cooperating factions.
Boko Haram, which only communicates messages via
jihadist videos of a man claiming to be its leader Abubakar Shekau, has not yet
commented on the alleged ceasefire.