- Armed Boko Haram militants went into a village, preached, then abducted 40
- Those kidnapped were between ages 10 and 23, some of those who fled say
- Boko Haram has been blamed for similar incidents, like the taking of 200 schoolgirls
The terrorists arrived in the village of Malari carrying assault rifles and then preached to them about the group's extremist ideology before forcibly taking 40 hostages and driving toward the Sambisa forest on December 31, villagers who fled to Maiduguri said.
It took days for information on this mass abduction to emerge due to poor communications stemming from the destruction of cell phone towers in previous Boko Haram attacks.This act, while horrific, is hardly unprecedented. Boko Haram has been blamed for numerous attacks, from assassinations of officials to bombings of crowded markets, in recent years as part of its quest to impose a strict version of Sharia law across Nigeria.
Mass kidnappings have been part of that campaign, most notably the taking of more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok in April. There was talk of a ceasefire deal that would pave the way for the girls' release, but Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau laughed it off, claiming that those abducted had converted to Islam and been married off.
As the latest incident proves, it's not only young women who have been targeted.
Boko Haram kidnapped at least 97 young men and boys in a deadly raid in August in and around the village of Doron Baga, a local leader and residents said. Twenty-eight residents died, and 25 more were injured in that raid, according to residents.