Boko Haram militants abduct dozens of Nigerian girls
MAIDUGURI: Dozens of girls and young women are being
abducted by Islamic extremists in northeast Nigeria, raising doubts about an
announced cease-fire and the hoped-for release of 219 schoolgirls held captive
Thirty teenage girls and boys have been kidnapped
since Wednesday from villages around Mafa town, 40 kilometers (25 miles) from
the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, the local government chairman Shettima
Maina told reporters.
Escaping residents said Boko Haram insurgents abducted
80 girls and women from neighbouring Adamawa state on Oct. 18.
Older women in the group were released the following
day and said the extremists kept about 40 younger women and girls, according to
the residents. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation by
On Oct. 17, Nigeria’s military announced a cease-fire
had been agreed with Boko Haram. He ordered his troops to immediately comply.
But the insurgents have launched several attacks since
then and on Friday a multinational force including troops from Nigeria and
Niger wrested back control of a town held by Boko Haram on the western shores
of Lake Chad.
Witnesses and a security official said more than 20
insurgents were killed in fierce fighting at Abadam in which the Nigerian Air
Force bombed occupied posts and ground troops opened fire after which the
Boko Haram had hoisted their black and white flag in
Abadam a week before, when they killed at least 40 civilians and forced
hundreds in the farming community to flee across the border into Niger,
according to some residents who escaped to Maiduguri, 200 kilometers (125
miles) to the east.
Also last week, a car bomb exploded in a bus station
in Azare, a town in north-central Bauchi state. Five people were killed and 12
hospitalized with injuries, according to police spokesman Deputy Superintendent
Haruna Muhammad. No one claimed responsibility but suspicion immediately fell
on Boko Haram, which in December 2011 bombed Azare’s police station and several
The continued fighting and abductions raise questions
about the cease-fire. Ten days after the announcement, Boko Haram has yet to
indicate that it has agreed to a truce.
Officials had said the cease-fire would lead to the
speedy release of the 219 girls kidnapped from a boarding school in the remote
northeastern town of Chibok on April 15.
Abducted girls are subjected to horrific treatment,
Human Rights Watch said in a new report Monday, quoting escapees who described
forced marriages and rapes, forced conversions to Islam, forced labor and
forced participation in attacks.
The insurgents mainly target Christians and girls who
go to school, said Human Rights Watch.