Boko Haram ‘kidnaps 20 more women’ from village near site of Chibok schoolgirl abduction

Local vigilante groups say they were unable to stop the militants

Militants believed to be from the Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram have kidnapped 20 women from a settlement near the town of Chibok where more than 200 schoolgirls were abducted in April, it has been reported.

Gunmen reportedly arrived at the nomadic Garkin Fulani settlement in a number of vans last week, and forced the women into the vehicles at gunpoint.

The women were then driven away, witnesses said, to an unknown location in the remote Borno state, along with three young men who had tried to stop the kidnapping.

The Nigerian army has been accused of being largely ineffective in combating Boko Haram in the Borno region, forcing local people to set up vigilante groups to protect themselves.

Alhaji Tar, a member of one of these groups, said eye-witnesses had told them about the attack but that it was too late for anyone to intervene.

“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,” he said.

A spokesperson for the army said that since that incident, which occurred at around midday on Thursday, state troops had prevented Boko Haram raids on villages across Borno and the neighbouring state of Adamawa.

Defence spokesperson Chris Oluklade said soldiers had killed more than 50 militants who were on their way to conduct raids on civilians.

Boko Haram came to wider international attention when they abducted hundreds of schoolgirls from the Chibok Government Girls School on 15 April, prompting the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

Read more: Who are Boko Haram?

The militant group, which says it is against “Western education” and wants to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria, has been taking over villages in the north east and killed more than 3,300 people so far this year, according to a new report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and the Norwegian Refugee Council.

On Thursday the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, is due to host delegations from more than 100 countries in London for a ministerial meeting about the state of northern Nigeria's security, as a follow-up to last month's summit in Paris about tackling Boko Haram.