More women and girls abducted in wake of Nigeria's government and Boko Haram ceasefire 'agreement'


Date: 2014-10-24

By Michael Ireland
Special Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

ABUJA, NIGERIA (ANS) -- Dozens of women and girls from two villages in Nigeria's north-eastern Adamawa state have been abducted by suspected militants, residents say, according the BBC.

The BBC reports the abductions have not been confirmed by the authorities, but residents say they took place a day after the military announced it had agreed a ceasefire with the Boko Haram terror group.

The Nigerian government hopes the Islamist group will free more than 200 girls seized in April as part of negotiations, but the BBC said Boko Haram has not confirmed the truce.

Suspected armed militants of the
Boko Haram terror group
(AFP photo via BBC website)

Following Friday's ceasefire announcement, the government said further talks with Boko Haram were due to be held this week in neighboring Chad, the BBC said on its website.

The BBC website showed an Associated Press (AP) photo of a man posing with a sign in front of police officers in riot gear during a demonstration calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped girls from Chibok, in Abuja, on October 14, 2014. The government failure to secure the schoolgirls' release has sparked mass protests.

In a separate incident, the BBC reported that at least five people were killed in a bomb blast at a bus station in a town in the northern state of Bauchi. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

News of the new abductions came as MPs (Members of Parliament) approved a $1bn (£623m) loan -- requested by the president in July -- to upgrade military equipment and train more units fighting the north-eastern insurgency, but the MPs asked the finance minister to give the chamber more details about how the external borrowing would be sourced, the BBC said.

It added that security already costs the country close to $6bn, roughly a quarter of the federal budget.

The BBC said the abduction of the schoolgirls from their boarding school in Borno state sparked a global campaign to pressure the government to secure their release.

Map showing Boko Haram
areas of control in Nigeria
(Courtesy BBC website).

It said Borno is the group's stronghold. It has been under a state of emergency, along with neighboring Adamawa and Yobe states, for more than a year.

According to the BBC report, the villages that were attacked on Saturday -- Waga Mangoro and Garta -- are close to Madagali and Michika towns, which have been under the control of the Islamist militant group for several weeks.

The report says that according to people in the area, a large group of insurgents attacked the villages, rounding up women and girls. They forced them to harvest groundnuts on a farm, then abducted those who were teenagers or in their early 20s.

The BBC explained that communication with the affected area is difficult, which is why it takes time for news of attacks to filter out.

Other raids by suspected Boko Haram fighters were reported by residents in Adamawa and Borno over the weekend, the BBC said.

It went on to report that since the state of emergency was declared in May 2013, Boko Haram has taken many women and children hostage and has agreed to some prisoner swaps.

The name Boko Haram translates as "Western education is forbidden," and the militants have carried out raids on schools and colleges, seeing them as a symbol of Western culture.

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