Less than five months after kidnapping nearly 300 young girls in Nigeria, it is suspected that fighters with the militant Islamist group Boko Haram has now abducted nearly 100 boys from a fishing village near Lake Chad.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the raid, which occurred Sunday, left at least six men dead and at least 97 men and boys unaccounted for.
“They left no men or boys in the place; only young children, girls and women,” one villager, Halima Adamu, said.
“They were shouting 'Allah Akbar,” shooting sporadically. There was confusion everywhere. They started parking our men and boys into their vehicles, threatening to shoot whoever disobey(ed) them. Everybody was scared,” Adamu added.
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Boko Haram’s vicious attacks on rural villages have displaced an estimated 400,000 Nigerian citizens this year alone, according to statistics cited by Inquisitr. The Nigerian government, unable to put a stop to the attacks, has responded by setting up protected refugee camps in the countryside.
Adamu said, though, she did not want to live in the camps. She told the Nigerian newspaper Punch that she planned to travel to be with family in the nearby town of Gashua.
“I think it is better to go and live with family members than opting for camps,” she said. “We lost everything we have worked for, and I don’t think the camp will be a better place for us. With family members, we can have the courage to face life again but the camp will continue to make us reflect on our predicament.”
Boko Haram is regarded as the largest security threat in Nigeria, which is Africa’s top oil producer and home to Africa’s largest economy. The militant group hopes to establish a religious caliphate in the country and enforce strict Muslim Shariah law.
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The grassroots movement’s popularity has waned recently as its tactics have grown more ruthless. It is feared that the kidnapped boys will be trained as child soldiers.
The fate of the young girls abducted in April is unknown, but reports from The Independent and other news agencies have indicated young girls, strapped with explosives, have blown themselves up recently in a spate of suicide bombings. Many speculate the group is forcing the girls to carry out these bombings.