Boko Haram fighters abduct dozens in village raid

Men and boys loaded into trucks and kidnapped by militants in remote Nigerian fishing village

Maiduguri

Suspected Islamist Boko Haram fighters have abducted dozens of boys and men in a raid on a remote village in north-eastern Nigeria, loading them into trucks and driving them off, witnesses who escaped the violence said on Friday.

The kidnappings come four months after Boko Haram, which is fighting to reinstate a medieval Islamic caliphate in religiously mixed Nigeria, abducted more than 200 schoolgirls from the village of Chibok. They are still missing.

Several witnesses who fled after Sunday’s raid on Doron Baga, a sandy fishing village near the shores of Lake Chad, said militants clothed in military and police uniforms had burned several houses and that 97 people were unaccounted for.

“They left no men or boys in the place; only young children, girls and women,” said Halima Adamu, sobbing softly and looking exhausted after a 110 mile road trip on the back of a truck to Maiduguri, capital of the north eastern state of Borno.

“They were shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ (God is greatest), shooting sporadically. There was confusion everywhere. They started packing our men and boys into their vehicles, threatening to shoot whoever disobeyed them. Everybody was scared.”

Witnesses said six older men were also killed in Sunday’s raid, while another five people were wounded.

Boko Haram, seen as the number one security threat to Africa’s top economy and oil producer, has dramatically increased attacks on civilians in the past year, and the once-grassroots movement has rapidly lost popular support as it becomes more and more bloodthirsty.

 

Its modus operandi – kidnapping boys and forcing them to fight and abducting girls as sex slaves – is a chilling echo of Ugandan rebel Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, which has operated in the same way in Uganda, South Sudan and central Africa for decades.

The military did not respond to a request for comment, although a security source said they were aware of the incident but were still investigating the details.

The kidnappers overpowered local vigilantes who had no support because there is no military presence in the area, the villagers said.

Talatu Abubakar, another villager who fled to Maiduguri, said the invaders had taunted the men for being unable to defend themselves.

“They were shouting ‘Where is your pride? You people used to be warriors. Today you are all just women, not as brave as we thought’,” he said.

Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army employs similar kidnapping techniques in Uganda Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army employs similar kidnapping techniques in Uganda (EPA)
Mr Abubakar also said that from his Hadeija clan alone, some 47 people were missing and feared to have been abducted.

The raid shows how mobile Boko Haram units can be. After a military offensive in May last year broke their hold on the area around Lake Chad in the far northeast of Borno state, the rebels relocated to the south of the state, near the Cameroon border nearly 190 miles away. Chibok, where the schoolgirls were taken from, is in this area.

Their re-appearance in the north east demonstrates their ability to move across vast swathes of Nigeria without being intercepted by the military.

Nigerian forces are overstretched against a determined foe. According to security sources, in the past week they have fought gun battles with Boko Haram Islamists in two key towns in the south of Borno – Gwoza, near the border with Cameroon, and the garrison town of Damboa, which the militants sacked a month ago.

Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific