Boko Haram unrest: Gunmen kidnap Nigeria villagers

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Boko Haram has taken control of several towns and villages in the north-east

Suspected Boko Haram militants have kidnapped about 40 boys and young men in a raid on a remote village in north-eastern Nigeria, residents say.

People who fled Malari village in Borno state and arrived in the state capital, Maiduguri, late on Friday said the men had been taken on New Year's Eve.

Last year Boko Haram abducted about 200 girls from a boarding school in Borno.

More than 2,000 people were killed in militant violence last year in north-eastern Nigeria.

Boko Haram has been waging an insurgency since 2009, and is seeking to create an Islamic state in north-eastern Nigeria.

Whisked away

In the latest incident, Malari residents said gunmen had come to the village in pick-up trucks and ordered all males to come out and listen to a sermon.

Young men were then rounded up and taken into a nearby forest.

Last month suspected Boko Haram militants stormed another village, Gumsuri. A survivor told the BBC that 33 villagers had been killed and about 200 people kidnapped.

Militants attacks have increased since three Nigerian states - Borno, Adamawa and Yobe - were put under emergency rule more than 18 months ago.

The kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in April sparked international outrage.

Despite military assistance from countries such as China, France, the UK and the US, the girls have not yet been rescued.

Who are Boko Haram?

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
More than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped by the group in April
  • Founded in 2002
  • Initially focused on opposing Western education - Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009 to create an Islamic state
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria - also attacked police and UN headquarters in the capital, Abuja
  • Some three million people are affected
  • Declared a terrorist group by the US in 2013

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