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Saturday, April 1

3 years after Chibok abduction: Boko Haram kidnaps 22 girls, women in Borno


By Adekunle Aliyu  & Joseph Erunke  with agency report
On the eve of the third year anniversary of the abduction of hundreds of girls in Chibok, Borno State, in 2014, Boko Haram Islamists have reportedly abducted 22 girls and women in two separate raids in northeast Nigeria, residents and vigilantes told AFP  on  Friday.
The Defence Headquarters, yesterday, said it was yet to confirm report.
Responding to Sunday Vanguard’s inquiry on the development, the Director of Information, Major General John Enenche, in a short text message, said: “Not yet confirmed.”
But the Nigerian Army denied report that 22 girls and women were abducted.
AFP report
In the first attack  which occurred  on Thursday, March 30, 2017, the jihadists were said to have raided the village of Pulka near the border with Cameroon, where they kidnapped 18 girls.
“Boko Haram fighters from Mamman Nur camp arrived in pickup vans around  6:00 am  and seized 14 young girls aged 17 and below, while residents fled into the bush,” a Pulka community leader told AFP by phone.
“They picked four other girls who were fleeing the raid they came across in the bush outside the village,” said the community leader who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.
According to the official, the attackers were loyal to the faction headed by Abu Musab Al-Barnawi, the son of Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf.
Barnawi was appointed last year by the Islamic State group to replace leader Abubakar Shekau, who had pledged allegiance to the Middle East jihadist group in 2015. Another resident confirmed the raid and said the girls were likely to end up as brides for the fighters.
“They didn’t harm anyone during the raid and they made no attempt to shoot people running away from the village,” said the resident.
In the second incident outside the village of Dumba, close to Lake Chad, the jihadists killed a herdsman who had tried to escape after refusing to pay protection money, said Adamu Ahmed, a member of an anti-Boko Haram militia.
“When the Boko Haram gunmen came for the money, they realised he had left with everything and they decided to go after him on their motorcycles,” Ahmed said. “They caught up with him near Dumba where they slaughtered him and shot dead 50 of his cattle.
“They took four women from the man’s family and the rest of the herd,” he said.
The promotion of Barnawi had revealed divisions in the group, as Shekau had been criticised for mass killings and suicide attacks against civilians.
Barnawi and his right-hand man, Mamman Nur, who is seen as the real leader, had promised residents in areas under their control that they would not be harmed as long as they did not cooperate with Nigerian troops fighting Boko Haram.
But in recent weeks the Islamist fighters have intensified raids in areas near Lake Chad, stealing food from residents. They have also killed several civilians they accused of cooperating with the military.
After the abduction of the Chibok girls in 2014, the first response from the Jonathan administration was a denial that such a thing had happened.
On  a Monday night, April 14, 2014, 276 girls of the Chibok Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, were abducted by Boko Haram fighters.
This led to angst on the part of Nigerians and the international community prompting the #BRINGBACKOURGIRL.
The international dimension to the rescue efforts at that time prompted world leaders to pledge to help the Nigerian government under the headship of then President Goodluck Jonathan.
As pressure mounted on the Jonathan government to act, members of the  Jam’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihd, otherwise known as Boko Haram, dug-in
However, o n Thursday, October 13, 2016, 21 of the girls were released after a long regime of negotiations with the terrorists.
After the first set of release, the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari insisted that it is still doing its best to ensure the release of the remaining girls, some of whom were believed to have been married off to the terrorists.
Army denies report
The Army also refuted the report that the terrorists launched attack on Pulka village,Borno State.
A terse statement released last night by the Nigerian Army, through its spokesman, Brigadier General Sani Usman, in response to media inquiry on the development, insisted that there was neither attack on the village nor abduction of any person by the terrorists as had been alleged in some quarters.
The statement tagged: “Media report about attack on Pulka  is false” ,read thus: “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a news story circulating on Social Media and some mainstream media that suspected Boko Haram terrorists have allegedly attacked Pulka and abducted 22 women, attributing it to an unidentified Bulama as source.
“We wish to state that the report is completely false and should be ignored.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Pulka and its environs is heavily fortified and there has not been any security breach in the area.
“Media houses are please requested to always cross check their facts before publishing or broadcasting.”
Boko Haram commander arrested
Meanwhile, a high-ranking member of the terrorist group, Mr Bulama Kailani Mohammed Metele, has surrendered to the 145 Task Force Battalion, 5 Brigade troops at Damasak.
Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, Army spokesman made this known in a statement  on Saturday  in Maiduguri.
Usman said that Metele, from Tumbun Bera in Borno, belonged to Mamman Nur’s faction of the group under the leadership of Abu Mustapha.
He said that Metele was of serial number 253 on Nigeria Army’s wanted Boko Haram terrorists poster produced recently.
“He is currently undergoing further interrogation,” he said.
Meanwhile, Usman said that two suspected Boko Haram terrorists carrying out surveillance on Kareto and Dangalti villages had been arrested by troops of 158 Task Force Battalion of 5 Brigade based on information.
Buratia’s charge  to his men
Interestingly, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, at the weekend charged the GOC, 8 Task Force Division, Maj.-Gen. Ali Nani, to beef up security against attacks by remnants of terrorists.
He gave the charge  on Saturday  at Gubio in Magumeri Local Government Area of Borno. He specifically charged the GOC to ensure that terrorists do not attack communities in the area again.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Boko Haram terrorists had on March 15 attacked the community.
“You must ensure that the incident of March 15 do not happen again,” the COAS said

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