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 denied the kidnappings. Nigeria’s defense headquarters in Abuja said in a tweet late on Monday that it was “yet to confirm the several reports on the abduction of girls in Borno as at now.”
Defense spokesmen were not immediately available for comment when contacted by the French news agency AFP on Tuesday.
Kummabza resident Aji Khalil said Tuesday the abductions took place Saturday in an attack in 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.
“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 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.
SOURCE: VOA News