Nigeria: Nigeria Boko Haram crisis: ’20 women abducted’ in north

Suspected Boko Haram militants have abducted at least 20 women close to where
200 schoolgirls were kidnapped in northern Nigeria, eyewitnesses say. The women were loaded on to vans at gunpoint and driven away to an unknown
location in Borno state, they add. The army has not commented on the incident, which occurred on the nomadic Garkin
Fulani settlement on Thursday. The Nigerian military has faced mounting criticism for failing to stop militant attacks in
the north-east. Despite a state of emergency in place in the region, residents say the army is largely
inactive or even absent, allowing the Boko Haram militants to continue their attacks. The group has waged an increasingly bloody insurgency since 2009 in an attempt to
create an Islamic state in Nigeria – and thousands of people have died in their attacks
and the subsequent security crackdown. ‘Too late’ The latest incident occurred close to where more than 200 schoolgirls were snatched
from the remote Chibok town near the Cameroonian border on 14 April. A member of a local vigilante group set up to resist such attacks said that in addition to
the women, the militants also seized three men who had tried to stop the abduction. “We tried to go after them when the news got to us about three hours later, but the
vehicles we have could not go far, and the report came to us a little bit late,” Alhaji Tar
said. The women are from a mainly Muslim community of cattle herders. The government has been facing growing pressure both at home and abroad to do
more to tackle Boko Haram since the abduction of the schoolgirls, who are mostly
Christians. On Monday, the military announced it had killed 50 insurgents in anti-terrorism
operations in recent days and prevented further Islamist raids on villages in Borno and
neighbouring Adamawa state. It follows a wave of militant attacks on villages in recent days, with as many as 200
people feared killed in one attack alone in the remote Gwoza area of Borno state. Local residents, now living rough in the Mandara mountains, told the BBC on Sunday the
army had still not arrived in their villages a week after the first raid. They say Boko Haram fighters have raised black and white jihadist flags in several
villages and it is too dangerous for men to venture there so elderly women were been
sent to bury the dead. BBC Nigeria correspondent Will Ross says the government appears reluctant to
acknowledge the attacks in Gwoza, an area which is now a Boko Haram stronghold. A new report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and the Norwegian
Refugee Council says 3,300 people have been killed by Boko Haram this year alone. The UK government is due to host a ministerial meeting about northern Nigeria’s
security in London on 12 June, following on from last month’s summit in Paris about
tackling Boko Haram.

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