MAIDUGURI—Eight months after Boko Haram terrorists kidnapped 276 school girls from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, with more than 200 of them still in captivity, the terrorists have again abducted another 191 people including women, girls and boys from Gumsuri community near Chibok.
The terrorists also killed 32 people in an attack last Sunday.
According to an account by two local government officials and a witness, a convoy of gunmen stormed Gumsuri in Borno State on Sunday, throwing petrol bombs into buildings and leaving much of the village destroyed.
32 killed in Gumsuri
The officials, who put the death toll at 32, said the local government established the number of those abducted by contacting families, ward heads and clerics.
A vigilante leader based in the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, Usman Kakani, told AFP that fighters who were in Gumsuri during the attack provided a figure of 191 abducted, including women, girls and boys.
Gumsuri is about 70 kilometres south of Maiduguri and falls on the road that leads to Chibok. Details of the Gumsuri attack took four days to emerge because the mobile phone network in the region has completely collapsed and many roads are impassable.
Those who fled the village said it was too dangerous to head directly to Maiduguri. Instead, they travelled hundreds of kilometres in the opposite direction to connect with the main road that leads to the state capital.
Mukhtar Buba, a resident who fled to Maiduguri, also confirmed that women and children were taken. “After killing our youths, the insurgents have taken away our wives and daughters,” he said.
The military and police were not immediately available to comment.
Witnesses said the hostages were taken away in trucks towards the Sambisa Forest, a notorious rebel stronghold, where the Chibok girls were also reportedly taken before being divided into smaller groups.
Vigilantes defend Gumsuri
Vigilantes, who have the military’s backing, had defended Gumsuri against waves of previous insurgents’ attacks but were ultimately overpowered on Sunday, according to the council officials.
The military has reportedly left much of the front-line fighting to vigilantes and hunters who have inferior weapons and almost no training.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who is standing for re-election in February 14 polls, had pledged that the Chibok attack would mark the beginning of the end of terrorism in Nigeria, but violence has escalated since. His Senior Special Assistant on Pubic Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe had last Monday cautioned the media against counting the days of the Chibok girls’ abduction.
The insurgents have carried out a series of abductions this year, boosting their supply of child fighters, and young women who have reportedly been used as sex slaves.
Boko Haram has not claimed responsibility for the Gumsuri attack, but multiple sources in the village blamed the extremists whose five-year uprising has killed more than 13,000 people and forced more than 1.5 million others from their homes.
The North East has been the epicentre of the conflict, but unrest has also spread into neighbouring Cameroon, where the military claimed to have killed 116 insurgents while repelling a Wednesday attack on an army base in the border town of Amchide.
The defence ministry in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, said Wednesday’s raid in the town of Amchide, near the border with Nigeria was carried out by several hundred Islamists who ambushed a column of military vehicles with explosives and simultaneously attacked the army base.
Cameroonian troops retaliated instantly, the ministry said, killing 116 insurgents while one soldier has been confirmed dead and another missing near the border with Nigeria on Wednesday, as reported by Reuters.
“The response of our forces was swift and appropriate. The attack was repulsed and the attackers neutralized,” defence ministry representative, Didier Badjeck, announced, cited by the news agency.
The country’s official reaffirmed the number of Boko Haram members killed and announced another attack that took place overnight. The number of victims currently remains unknown.
Nigeria has seen an upsurge in violence since April linked to the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. The insurgency has left more than 13,000 dead and 1.5 million displaced people since 2009.
Timeline of killings since April
*April 14: 276 young girls were abducted from their school by Boko Haram gunmen in Chibok, a remote community of Borno State. Fifty-seven of the girls managed to flee, while 219 are still being held.
*April 14: At least 75 people died in a bomb blast in a packed bus station on the outskirts of Abuja — the deadliest attack yet in the city. Boko Haram claimed responsibility for it.
*May 5: Boko Haram gunmen razed the town of Gamboru Ngala in Borno State, killing at least 300 people.
*May 20: Twin car bombings in Jos, blamed on Boko Haram, killing at least 118.
*June 3: Heavily armed gunmen raided four northeastern villages in Borno State, with local leaders putting the death toll as high as 400-500.
*July 23: Two blasts rocked Kaduna city killing at least 42.
*August 24: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claimed he has made the town of Gwoza in Borno State part of an Islamic caliphate.
*October 18: Around 60 women and young girls were abducted around Chibok, according to witnesses. On October 25-26, 30 adolescents were kidnapped in the village of Mafa in Borno State.
*October 31: Shekau said the 219 abducted schoolgirls have been converted to Islam and married off, ruling out talks with the authorities on a ceasefire.
*November 9: Shekau said that he has created a caliphate in the more than 20 northeastern towns conquered by the insurgents.
*November 10: A suicide attack killed at least 58 people at a boys school in Potiskum in Yobe State.
*November 28: Two suicide bombers blew themselves up and gunmen opened fire during weekly prayers at the Kano Central Mosque. At least 120 people were killed and 270 others wounded.
*December 1: More than 150 people, including 44 police and security troops, died in a Boko Haram raid on Damaturu, Yobe State.