Suspected Boko Haram gunmen have kidnapped a further eight girls aged between 12 and 15-years-old from a village near one of their strongholds in north-east Nigeria overnight, police and residents have said.
A police source said the girls were taken away on trucks, along with looted livestock and food. The Islamist rebels are still holding more than 200 girls they abducted from a secondary school on 14 April.
"They were many, and all of them carried guns. They came in two vehicles painted in army colour. They started shooting in our village," Lazarus Musa, a resident of Warabe, where the attack happened, told Reuters.
"Many people tried to run behind the mountain but when they heard gun shots, they came back," Musa added. "The Boko Haram men were entering houses, ordering people out of their houses."
On Monday, the leader of Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the abduction of over 200 girls in a chilling video message, where he threatened to "sell them" into slavery or marriage.
“I abducted your girls,” Abubakar Shekau said in the hour-long video. “By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace,” he continued, adding that the girls were being held as “slaves”.
Boko Haram means 'Western education is forbidden' and the group has targeted various educational institutes across Nigeria. In the video, Shekau said the girls should not have been attending school and should get married instead.
The British Foreign Secretary William Hague has now offered "practical help" to help secure their release as he arrived for a Council of Europe meeting in Vienna.
"Our hearts go out to (the girls') families. I called the Nigerian foreign minister when this first arose back on Good Friday, in the middle of last month, to offer help from Britain, to express our concern," he said.
In an apparent bid to deflect criticism of the government’s performance, Nigeria’s First Lady allegedly ordered the arrest of Naomi Mutah Nyadar, one of the organisers of last week’s protests in the capital, Abuja.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies