Nigeria: More than 100 kidnapped, Boko Haram suspected
Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped more than 100 women and children and killed 35 people during a Sunday raid on the remote northeast Nigerian village of Gumsuri, a security source and resident said on Thursday.
News from remote parts of Nigeria that are cut off from mobile communications sometimes takes days to travel, reported Reuters.
The five-year-old campaign for an Islamic state by Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sinful”, has become the greatest menace to the security of Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer.
Thousands of people have been killed and many hundreds abducted, raising questions about the ability of security forces to protect civilians.
“They gathered the people, shot dead over 30 people and took away more than 100 women and children in two open-top trucks,” said Maina Chibok, who did not witness the attack but is from Gumskiri and visited family there shortly afterwards.
Hallmarks of Boko Haram
Agence France-Presse, however, reported that at least 185 people were kidnapped, with Boko Haram carting the hostages away on trucks towards the Sambisa Forest, a notorious rebel stronghold.
The information came from two local officials and a vigilante leader. Both officials, who requested anonymity, said the local government established the number of people abducted by contacting families, ward heads and emirs.
A vigilante leader based in the Borno state capital Maiduguri, Usman Kakani, told AFP that civilian fighters who were in Gumsuri during the attack provided a figure of 191 abducted, including women, girls and boys.
Although no one has claimed it yet, the attack bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, which, in a similar assault, abducted more than 200 women in April from a secondary school in Chibok, very near this latest attack on the Cameroon border.
“They also burnt down a government medical centre, houses and shops,” Chibook said.
A security source confirmed that more than 100 had been abducted and said 35 people had been killed, including the district head.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, a Nigerian military court sentenced 54 soldiers to death for mutiny after they refused to deploy for an operation against Boko Haram in the northeast, their lawyer said.
“They sentenced 54 to death and acquitted five,” said prominent human rights lawyer Femi Falana, following a court martial that began on October 15 and was conducted behind closed doors. Reporters were turned away from the court before the tribunal gave its verdict and military officials were not available for comment afterwards.
In a similar case in September, 12 soldiers were sentenced to death for mutiny after firing on their commanding officer in the northeast city of Maiduguri, where troops are battling against Boko Haram.
Both sentences are subject to approval by top army brass, but there has so far been no indication that senior officers oppose the rulings. – Reuters, AFP, Staff reporter