Militants abduct over 100 girls from Nigeria school

Updated 15 April 2014
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Militants abduct over 100 girls from Nigeria school

MAIDUGURI: Heavily armed Boko Haram rebels abducted more than 100 girls from a secondary school in northeast Nigeria, sparking a search by soldiers to track down the attackers, a security source and witnesses said Tuesday.
Some of the schoolgirls in the Chibok area of southern Borno state narrowly escaped their kidnappers by jumping off a truck in the middle of the night as the gunmen sought to cart them away, according to multiple witnesses.
A security source who requested anonymity said the attackers were members of Boko Haram, a radical group whose name means “Western education is forbidden.”
The group has repeatedly attacked schools in the northeast during an insurgency that has killed thousands since 2009.
Asked to confirm media reports that 200 girls had been taken from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, the source said: “The number is not up to 200, but it is over 100.”
The gunmen, riding in trucks and on motorcycles, stormed the town after sundown, torching several buildings before opening fire on troops who were guarding the school, said Chibok resident Salisu Ibrahim in an account supported by other witnesses.
The gun battle, which occurred on Monday, reportedly lasted several hours but the rebels ultimately overpowered the troops and entered the school, said Emmanuel Sam, an education officer based in Chibok.
Sam, who fled to Borno’s capital Maiduguri after the attack, said “many” girls had been abducted, but declined to offer a more precise figure. He said the girls had been scheduled to sit exams this week.
The militants loaded the girls onto trucks and drove away, multiple witnesses said.
“We were able to follow the path of the truck and we found it broke down deep in the bush,” the security source told AFP.
“We are now trying to locate the whereabouts of the abducted girls,” he added.
Borno, Boko Haram’s stronghold and where the group was founded more than a decade ago, is a remote region with notoriously bad roads.
Ibrahim, also speaking from Maiduguri, told AFP that “some of the girls jumped out of the truck,” as it moved and some of those who escaped managed to make it back to Chibok.
In an attack earlier this year in Borno state, witnesses said Boko Haram gunmen surrounded a girls’ school, forced the students to leave and ordered them to immediately return to their villages.
The rebels have been blamed for a series of school massacres, including the mass shooting of students in their sleep earlier this year in Yobe state.
Boko Haram’s insurgency has crippled education in Borno, with schools across the state having been shut down.
But a mass abduction specifically targeting girls is unprecedented in the group’s uprising.


Two suicide bombers kill three in north Nigeria mosque

Updated 22 April 2018
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Two suicide bombers kill three in north Nigeria mosque

KANO: Two suicide bombers killed three Muslim worshippers in a mosque in a northeast Nigerian town still being rebuilt after virtual destruction by Boko Haram in 2014, sources told AFP Sunday.
The bombers, a man and a woman, detonated their explosives inside the mosque during morning prayers on Saturday in the town of Bama in Borno state.
The pair "blew themselves up in a mosque while people were praying, killing three people," said Baba Shehu Gulumba, Bama local government chairman.
A senior military officer in Bama confirmed the death toll, adding that nine people were also injured.
"Some of the injured are in a critical condition and may hardly make it. They have been transferred to Maiduguri for better medical care," said the military officer, who asked not to be named.
The attack came two weeks after residents began returning to the town which was destroyed by Boko Haram four years ago.
Bama, a major trading hub on the road to Cameroon and home to 270,000 people, was captured in September 2014, forcing residents to flee to Maiduguri, the state capital.
When it was retaken by the Nigerian military in March 2015, 85 percent of the town had been demolished by the jihadists.
Borno state officials said it would require 40 billion naira (94 million euros, $111 million) to rebuild the town, a staggering amount in the impoverished region.
According to officials 11,000 homes had been rebuilt which residents said represent one-third of those destroyed.
On April 5 the state's information commissioner Mohammed Bulama said 1,200 people had returned to the town in a phased resettlement of the 100,000 displaced residents living in camps in Maiduguri.
Boko Haram has been notorious for suicide attacks on civilian and military targets in response to army offensives that have put pressure on the militant group.
Recent days have seen a lull in such attacks.
However on Friday 10 people including four militia fighting the militants were injured when two female suicide bombers attacked Amarwa village in Konduga district, 38 kilometres from Maiduguri, according to militia sources.