Posts Tagged ‘Chibok’

Nigeria repeatedly warned before Boko Haram abducted 110 schoolgirls: Amnesty — “A War They Don’t Want To Win”

March 20, 2018

Nigeria forces repeatedly warned before Boko Haram abducted 110 schoolgirls: AmnestyA picture taken on Feb. 28 at the Government Girls Technical College at Dapchi town in northern Nigeria shows a classroom deserted by fleeing students after Boko Haram Islamists kidnapped 110 schoolgirls. Nigeria’s government on March 1 said it had set up a committee to establish how Boko Haram jihadists managed to kidnap the 110 girls from their school in the country’s remote northeast. | AFP



Nigeria’s military was on Tuesday accused of ignoring repeated warnings about the movements of Boko Haram fighters before they kidnapped 110 schoolgirls in the country’s restive northeast.

The students — the youngest of whom is aged just 10 — were seized from the town of Dapchi, Yobe state, on Feb. 19 in virtually identical circumstances to those in Chibok in 2014.

Then, more than 200 schoolgirls were taken in an attack that brought sustained world attention on the Islamist insurgency and sparked a global campaign for their release.

President Muhammadu Buhari has called the Dapchi abduction a “national disaster” and vowed to use negotiation rather than force to secure their release.

But as in Chibok nearly four years ago, human rights group Amnesty International claimed the military was warned about the arrival of the heavily armed jihadists — yet failed to act.

In the hours that followed both attacks, the authorities also tried to claim the girls had not been abducted.

Amnesty’s Nigeria director Osa Ojigho said “no lessons appear to have been learned” from Chibok and called for an immediate probe into what she called “inexcusable security lapses.

“The government’s failure in this incident must be investigated and the findings made public — and it is absolutely crucial that any investigation focuses on the root causes,” she added.

“Why were insufficient troops available? Why was it decided to withdraw troops? What measures have the government taken to protect schools in northeast Nigeria?

“And what procedures are supposed to be followed in response to an attempted abduction?”

There was no immediate response from the Nigerian military when contacted by AFP.

Amnesty said that between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Feb. 19, at least five calls were made to tell the security services that Islamist fighters were in the Dapchi area.

Locals spotted about 50 members of the Islamic State group affiliate in a convoy of nine vehicles in Futchimiram, about 30 km (19 miles) from Dapchi, then at Gumsa.

In Gumsa, where Boko Haram stayed until about 5:00 p.m., residents phoned ahead to Dapchi to warn them. The convoy arrived at about 6:30 p.m. and left about 90 minutes later.

Amnesty, whose researchers spoke to about 23 people and three security officials, said the army command in Geidam had told callers they were aware of the situation and were monitoring.

Police in Dapchi promised to tell divisional commanders, while army commanders in Geidam and Damaturu were also alerted during the attack, it added.

People in Dapchi have previously said troops were withdrawn from the town earlier this year, leaving only a few police officers. The nearest military detachment was an hour away.

The Dapchi abduction has thrown into doubt repeated government and military claims that Boko Haram is on the brink of defeat, after nearly nine years of fighting and at least 20,000 deaths.

Boko Haram, which has used kidnapping as a weapon of war during the conflict, has not claimed responsibility but it is believed a faction headed by Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi is behind it.

Image result for Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi, photos

Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi

IS in August 2015 publicly backed Barnawi as the leader of Boko Haram, or Islamic State West Africa Province, over Abubakar Shekau, whose supporters carried out the Chibok abduction.

Analysts have attributed a financial motive to the Dapchi kidnapping given government ransom payments made to Boko Haram to secure the release of some of the captives from Chibok.



Boko Haram kills 5 fishermen in Borno, Nigeria — Jihadists against fishermen?

March 18, 2018


Suspected Boko Haram jihadists killed five fishermen on a remote island in northeastern Nigeria for aiding the search for dozens of schoolgirls kidnapped last month by the jihadists, a local official said Saturday.

“Five men who went fishing near the border with Chad were shot dead,” said Abubakar Gamandi, president of the fisheries union in Borno state, where the killings occurred.

He said the attack happened on Tudun Umbrella island in Lake Chad, which borders Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon.

Image result for Lake chad, map

Members of the militant Islamist group stormed the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe state, in February, taking 110 girls with them as they fled.

Girls at the school in Dapchi in the northeastern state of Yobe, where dozens of school girls went missing after an attack on the village by Boko Haram.

The Dapchi kidnapping rekindled painful memories of a similar mass abduction by Boko Haram four years ago, when more than 200 schoolgirls were taken from Chibok in an act that shocked the world.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari called the February 19 abduction a “national disaster” and a widespread hunt for the girls is under way.

Gamandi said the fishermen were killed because they were assisting the military in the search.

“Fishermen have been assisting the military in the operation to locate the schoolgirls because we know the terrain well,” he told AFP.

Boko Haram have repeatedly attacked fishermen in the border region around Lake Chad in recent years.

Nigeria’s battle against the extremist group in northeastern regions has left more than 20,000 people dead and forced more than 1.5 million to flee their homes since 2009.


Nigeria: Borno Closes Schools As Buhari’s Ransom Payments Sparks Fears Of More Boko Haram Abductions — How often has the Government of Nigeria Declared Victory over Boko Haram since 2009?

March 13, 2018

Image result for Borno, nigeria, map

In an obvious move to prevent the abduction of students by Boko Haram insurgents, Borno State Government on Monday announced the closure of all boarding schools in 25 out of its 27 local government areas.

Only Maiduguri and Biu metropolitan areas were spared in massive school closure, ThisDay newspaper has reported, quoting Borno commissioner for education, Inuwa Kubo.

The closure, the commissioner said, involved all female and male boarding schools.

This implies that boarding schools have been closed in 25 out of 27 local government areas of the state.

The closure of the schools was announced the same day President Muhammadu Buhari told visiting American Secretary of State that Nigeria prefers to have schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok and Dapchi back through negotiation, rather than using the military to rescue them.

“We are trying to be careful. It is better to get our daughters back alive,” the President told Rex Tillerson at in an audience at State House, Abuja, Monday.

He added that Nigeria was working in concert with international organizations and negotiators, to ensure that the girls were released unharmed by their captors.

Lawal Daura, the head of Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Services had also revealed about three weeks ago that negotiation is going on with different factions of Boko Haram to free Nigerians they have been holding captive.

DSS, with the support of Switzerland and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, has been at the vanguard of Nigeria’s negotiation with Boko Haram for freedom of hostages. Nigeria has been able to get back over 100 of the 276 schoolgirls abducted by the insurgents four years ago in Chibok, Borno State.

The latest of such abductees released through negotiations with Boko Haram were three lecturers of the University of Maiduguri and 10 women. The women were abducted on June 20 last year while traveling from Maiduguri to Askira Uba local government area to attend a burial. The freed lecturers were abducted while searching for oil in the Lake Chad Basin as consultants to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

Image result for Boko Haram, nigeria, photos

While receiving the freed abductees at Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, about three weeks ago, President Buhari had said while ‘the government was fully aware of the expectations of the families of the abductees and the general public for their immediate freedom, the path to freedom for them has been a “painstaking and protracted” process.

Buhari also used the occasion to reiterate the resolve of his administration to ensure all persons abducted by the insurgents are rescued or released safely, speaking against the backdrop of the February 19 abduction of 110 girls from from Government Science and Technical Girls College, Dapchi, Yobe State: “I have since directed all security agencies to immediately ensure that every effort is directed to ensure the safety of our schools and students as well as bringing back the abducted girls to their families. “Government remains unrelenting towards rescuing all those abducted.”

Daura had also at the event told journalists that negotiating with Boko Haram was the “safest” means of rescuing the three abducted lecturers of the University of Maiduguri and 10 women from captivity.  “These negotiations took several months and the Department of State Services with the support of the external elements of the group in diaspora and support from friendly countries and liaising with International Community of the Red Cross, made the rescue possible,” said the DSS DG.

He added that the process was slow because two different groups were holding the hostages while the negotiations took place mostly outside the country, though subsequently finalized in the theater of operations.

“The negotiations were mainly centered on an attempt at conflict mitigation which includes the fate of arrested members of the insurgent groups especially, accepting to free by government those found not to be culpable in any criminal activity.

Also, possible cessation of hostilities especially the attacks with IEDs on innocent civilians, worship centers, schools and other public places in return for temporary stoppage of air strikes by helicopter gunships,” Daura said of the conditions for the release of the hostages.

The International Committee of the Red Cross had always explained that its role in the process was to facilitate the hand over from the insurgents to the Nigerian military of hostages, acting as a neutral intermediary at the request of Boko Haram and the Federal Government, with the Department of State Services as representative.

But the big question which the DSS has failed to disclose was the huge ‘ransom’ usually exchanged with the insurgents for the abductees. While there has been no information on the amount paid to get Boko Haram to release the university lecturers and the 10 women, reports indicated that between two to three million euros were paid by the Federal Government to Boko Haram in exchange for the release of 82 Chibok girls in 2017.

According to the BBC, the money paid in cash was handed over to the insurgents in exchange for the release of the girls in addition to the release of five senior Boko Haram militants were bomb-makers.

“The ransom was €2m. Boko Haram asked for euros. They chose the suspects and gave us the list of girls who would be freed,” BBC quoted a source as confirming the deal with Boko Haram.

The presidency has not denied the claim. But an indication that the DSS will do anything to keep details of the negotiation away from the prying eyes of the public was the recent arrest and detention for several days of a journalist over an article that reveals some of the major dramatis personae in the negotiations and ransom payments.

The DG of DSS and other Nigerian officials involved in the very opaque negotiations are also feeding fat on it, just as Boko Haram is using its own part of the ransom for restocking of deadly weapons that will faciliate more abductions, according to sources.

Just recently, one of the Boko Haram commanders released was seen in a video posted on this website boasting of more attacks against Nigeria.

The willingness of the Federal Government to pay ransom for abductees is fueling the thirst of various factions of Boko Haram for mass kidnappings.

Nigerian lawmakers had alluded to this during debate of the abduction of Dapchi girls recently.

The lawmakers explained that Boko Haram now kidnap women and girls so as to negotiate and “get money” from the federal government “just like the case of Chibok girls.”

“What happened is a lesson for us. That Boko Haram sees girls or women as value targets. What they did in Chibok earned them some funds, because negotiations were held somehow and they got a lot of money,” Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan said during the debate.

“They devise a means of going to abduct people so that they would negotiate with the federal government for ransom. It happened with the recent abduction of Maiduguri staff that were on an exploration. The government negotiated with them and they got money. Now they have been empowered, even with police officers wives, the federal government went and negotiated with them and they were given money,” Senator Joshua Lidani representing Gombe South said.

“We need to be very proactive in this case because the idea of sitting down to always negotiating and paying ransom with this action, we are empowering the Boko- Haram so that they would continue to do more,” he added.

Borno Commissioner of Education said the closure of schools was to avoid falling into the trap of paying Boko Haram: “We have decided to relocate all our girls in boarding schools to within the metropolises of Maiduguri or Biu because we do not want a recurrence of the Chibok case.

“If the entire security situation is not addressed, one cannot be sure that it won’t happen again. If people start seeing that over time there are no more attacks, they will know that peace has returned.

“But in a situation where you cannot move to some parts of the state without escorts and you are hearing that in some cases, the military is being ambushed, you cannot deceive yourself and say everything is okay.

“If we have a situation where our military is still being ambushed, we cannot leave our girls in boarding schools and even the boys’ boarding schools.

“We cannot allow them to continue in boarding schools where the security is porous. We have to relocate the girls to boarding schools within the metropolises and we equally took proactive steps with the male boarding schools, because they cannot be said to be interested in girls alone.

“It is just that they (Boko Haram insurgents) have received more attention by abducting girls; there is more to gain by the insurgents when they carry girls because of the concerns of the people and government more for the womenfolk.”

Kubo revealed that the state government had collapsed all the girls’ boarding schools into Biu and Maiduguri, adding: “There are some other communities that operate girls’ schools but are not boarding schools, they have day schools, with the girls going back to their homes to sleep.”

The commissioner, who also commended the police for deploying their men in schools in the state, expressed hope that the deployment was sustained and not an action dictated by the emotions brought about by the abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls.

He said measures had been taken to get all the schools in the troubled state, the birthplace of Boko Haram, shielded from any further attacks by the terrorists.

Kubo said: “It is a security measure and not meant for public consumption, but I can assure you that all the necessary machinery and apparatus have been put in place to safeguard our children.”

He also revealed that members of the vigilante group, known as the Civilian JTF, and local hunters had been deployed to keep schools safe in the state.

He, however, lamented that even with the arrangements put in place to secure the schools, no one was certain that there would be no more attacks by Boko Haram.

“What is most important and paramount is this, whatever arrangements you have is dependent on local security. What I am trying to say is that if a community is infested with insecurity, no matter the arrangements, it cannot stand the test of time.

“Like what happened in Chibok and like my issues with the former president (Goodluck Jonathan), he asked as to why we allowed these girls to be abducted in Chibok.

“He knew very well that the North-east is infested with insecurity, if there was no insecurity, no one would come into a school and pick up girls.

“So, whenever the security situation improves in the area, apprehension within schools and communities would naturally wane. But as long as insecurity is not totally addressed in the communities, whatever measures you put in place cannot succeed.

“This means that the federal government should continue in its determination to make sure that peace is restored.

“And people too have roles to play because the federal government can only act on information given to them by the members of the community. I believe much has been achieved, but more can be achieved if having recorded some success, the security agencies do not relax.

“When the security agencies relax sometimes, this has given the insurgents the opportunity to continue with their nefarious activities,” he added.



Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, hat and closeup

Goodluck Jonathan

 (Has links to several previous articles)

Remember this from April 2014? From left: Michelle Obama, Cara Delevingne and Malala Yousafzai call for the release of the girls during the “hashtag campaign”

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja, Nigeria August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Boko Haram: The Jihadist Killers Nigeria Seems Unable or Unwilling To Stop — How often has the Government of Nigeria Declared Victory over Boko Haram since 2009?

February 22, 2018


© AFP | Suicide bomb attacks and abductions have been the hallmarks of Boko Haram’s bloody insurgency

LAGOS (AFP) – Nigeria’s Boko Haram, suspected of another mass kidnapping of school girls, started out as an Islamic anti-corruption group but mutated into an IS affiliate waging a lethal insurgency.- Fundamentalist –

Boko Haram aims to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria — a campaign that has cost at least 20,000 lives since 2009 and at its peak displaced 2.6 million from their homes. The name loosely translates from the Hausa language as “Western education is forbidden”.

Founder and spiritual leader Mohammed Yusuf pinned the blame for Nigeria’s ills on Western values left by colonial master Britain, criticised the country’s corrupt secular regime for neglecting development in Muslim regions and advocated a return to fundamentalist Islam.

He came to the attention of authorities in 2002 when he began to build a following among disaffected youths in Maiduguri.

Yusuf was killed in police custody in 2009 after an uprising in Maiduguri that prompted a military assault which killed some 700 people and left the group’s mosque and headquarters in ruins.

Many of its supporters fled the country.

– Violent turn –

Boko Haram was broadly peaceful before Yusuf’s death.

But his successor, his right-hand man Abubakar Shekau, undertook a violent campaign of deadly attacks on schools, churches, mosques, state entities and security forces.

Some Boko Haram members are thought to have trained with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in northern Mali in 2012 and 2013.

Among the group’s most notorious acts was the April 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from the remote town of Chibok. A total of 107 have since been released, found or escaped.

The mass abduction brought world attention to the insurgency at a time when Boko Haram was seizing territory across the northeast, which became a largely no-go area, with the violence spilling over into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

In August 2014 Shekau proclaimed a “caliphate” in the Borno town of Gwoza and in March 2015 pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

– Split –

The long-divided Boko Haram underwent a major split in 2016 when the IS recognised Yusuf’s son, Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi, as its leader.

The Barnawi faction is particularly active on the Chad and Niger borders and has said it will attack Nigerian government targets and the military.

Shekau’s faction operated out of the Sambisa Forest in Borno state, near the Cameroon border, and is responsible for unrelenting suicide bombings targeting civilians.

– Fight back –

President Muhammadu Buhari made crushing Boko Haram one of his priorities after he took office in May 2015.

The Nigerian military has since claimed to have reduced it to a spent and divided force but regular bloody raids and suicide bomb attacks continue.

The violence has forced 2.6 million from their homes since 2009, destroying property and farmland in the mainly rural northeast and sparking a humanitarian crisis and acute food shortages.

In January, troops from Nigeria and backed by others from Cameroon, Chad and Niger launched major offensives against the two Boko Haram factions.

The Nigerian military claimed “tremendous progress”.

Mass hearings started in October last year of 1,669 people arrested over the years on suspicion of being members of Boko Haram, including some women and children.

Since then more than 900 have been released, mostly for lack of evidence.



Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, hat and closeup

Goodluck Jonathan

 (Has links to several previous articles)

Remember this from April 2014? From left: Michelle Obama, Cara Delevingne and Malala Yousafzai call for the release of the girls during the “hashtag campaign”

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja, Nigeria August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Scores of girls ‘missing’ after new Boko Haram school attack — Nigerian government spending a lot on arms, ammunitions, vehicles but it isn’t clear they really want to do away with Boko Haram

February 21, 2018



© BOKO HARAM/AFP / by Aminu ABUBAKAR, with Phil HAZLEWOOD in Lagos | Fourteen missing ‘Chibok girls’ were seen in a video released on January 15 by their abductors

KANO (NIGERIA) (AFP) – Fears grew in northeast Nigeria on Wednesday about the fate of potentially scores of girls who have not been seen since a Boko Haram attack on their school two days ago.Militants stormed the Government Girls Science Secondary School in Dapchi, Yobe state, on Monday evening. Locals initially said the girls and their teachers fled the attack.

The jihadists gained worldwide notoriety in April 2014 when they abducted 276 girls from their school in Chibok, in neighbouring Borno state.

Fifty-seven escaped in the immediate aftermath and since May last year, 107 have either escaped or been released as part of a government-brokered deal. A total of 112 are still being held.

Monday’s incident sparked fears of a repeat of Chibok and on Wednesday morning some 50 parents and guardians gathered at the school demanding information.

“Our girls have been missing for two days and we don’t know their whereabouts,” Abubakar Shehu, whose niece is among those missing, told AFP.

“Although we were told they had run to some villages, we have been to all these villages mentioned without any luck. We are beginning to harbour fears the worst might have happened.

“We have the fear that we are dealing with another Chibok scenario.”

– Confused picture –

According to school staff, there were 710 students at the state-run boarding school, which caters for girls aged 11 and above.

Inuwa Mohammed, whose 16-year-old daughter, Falmata, is also missing, said it was a confused picture and that parents had been frantically searching surrounding villages.

“Nobody is telling us anything officially,” he said. “We still don’t know how many of our daughters were recovered and how many are still missing.

“We have been hearing many numbers, between 67 and 94.”

Police in the state, which is one of three in the northeast Nigeria worst-affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, said they had no reports of abductions following the attack.

Yobe’s education commissioner, Mohammed Lamin, said the school had been shut and a rollcall of all the girls who have returned was being conducted.

“It is only after the head-count that we will be able to say whether any girls were taken,” he said.

Some of the girls had fled to villages up to 30 kilometres (nearly 20 miles) away through the remote bushland, he added.

– Weapon of war –

Boko Haram has used kidnapping as a weapon of war since its insurgency began in 2009, seizing thousands of women and young girls, as well as men and boys of fighting age.

Some 300 children were among 500 people abducted from the town of Damasak in November 2014.

Getting accurate information from the remote northeast remains difficult. The army still largely controls access and infrastructure has been devastated by nine years of conflict.

In Chibok, the military initially claimed the students had all been found but was forced to back-track when parents and the school principal said otherwise.

As the issue gained world attention, spawning the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, the then president Goodluck Jonathan was increasingly criticised for his lacklustre response.

The mass abduction and Jonathan’s handling of it was seen as contributing to his 2015 election defeat to Muhammadu Buhari, who promised to bring the Boko Haram insurgency to an end.

But despite Buhari’s repeated claims the group is weakened to the point of defeat, civilians remain vulnerable to suicide attacks and hit-and-run raids in the remote northeast.

No-one from Buhari’s administration has yet commented on Dapchi.

Security analysts told AFP on Tuesday that government ransom payments to secure the release of the Chibok girls could have given the under-pressure group ideas for financing.

“They need money for arms, ammunitions, vehicles, to keep their army of fighters moving across the borders,” said Amaechi Nwokolo, from the Roman Institute of International Studies.

“They’re spending a lot of money on arms and logistics.”

by Aminu ABUBAKAR, with Phil HAZLEWOOD in Lagos

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, hat and closeup

Goodluck Jonathan

 (Has links to several previous articles)

Remember this from April 2014? From left: Michelle Obama, Cara Delevingne and Malala Yousafzai call for the release of the girls during the “hashtag campaign”

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja, Nigeria August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Four British missionaries kidnapped by gunmen in Nigeria

October 18, 2017
A militant group pictured in the Niger Delta in 2010. Kidnapping is not uncommon in the area CREDIT:AFP/GETTY
  • Police are trying to rescue the four people, who were taken by gunmen last week
  • They were providing ‘medical care and religious activities’ in Burutu, Delta state
  • Chief Theo Fakama said locals were ‘saddened’ by the kidnapping as the victims
  • Kidnapping for ransom is a common problem in parts of Nigeria 

Four Britons have been kidnapped in Nigeria‘s southern Delta state, a police official said on Wednesday.

The police are attempting to rescue the four people, who were taken by unidentified gunmen on October 13, said Andrew Aniamaka, a spokesman for Delta state police.

He says they include a doctor, his wife and two other men who were involved in preaching and providing medical services to residents.

The four had been providing ‘free medical care and religious activities’ in the Burutu area of Delta state, said Chief Theo Fakama, from the local Enukorowa community.

Four Britons have been kidnapped in Nigeria 's southern Delta state, a police official said on Wednesday. Pictured, Nigerian soldier on patrol (file photo)

Four Britons have been kidnapped in Nigeria ‘s southern Delta state, a police official said on Wednesday. Pictured, Nigerian soldier on patrol (file photo)

Fakama said locals were ‘saddened’ by the kidnapping as the victims had ‘brought succour to residents of the community for the past three years’.

Kidnapping for ransom is a common problem in parts of Nigeria. A number of foreigners have, in the last few years, been kidnapped in the Niger Delta region, which holds most of the country’s crude oil – the country’s economic mainstay.

‘The abductors have not made any contact but we are doing our investigations to know the motive and have them rescued without jeopardising their lives,’ said Aniamaka.

‘Information available to us shows they are missionaries giving free medical services.

‘The victims are of British nationality, two of whom are a couple, and have been rendering humanitarian services in the area for a while.

‘But unfortunately, they didn’t let the authorities know of their presence in the area all this while.

There is a militant group that has been operating in the area and we believe they are the ones behind the abduction 

‘Immediately the militants struck, they whisked the victims to the interior regions of the creek where we believe they are being held for the past five days.’

There was an increase in crime in the southern region last year that coincided with a series of attacks on energy facilities. However, there have been no militant attacks on energy installations so far this year.

On October 14, the Vatican said an Italian priest was kidnapped by gunman just outside Benin City, which is the capital of Edo state and neighbours Delta state to the north.

Delta state commissioner of police Zanna Ibrahim told reporters in the state capital, Asaba, on Tuesday: ‘An anti-kidnapping team is already on the trail of the suspects.’

He suggested the abduction could be linked to a recent military operation against violent crime, which has seen an increase in troops in southern Nigeria.

Nigeria also saw the infamous kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in the town of Chibok in 2014.

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16 killed in double suicide attack in NE Nigeria

June 19, 2017


© AFP | A white sheet covers the bodies of some of the victims of the double suicide bombing in Dalori Kofa village in northeast Nigeria

MAIDUGURI (NIGERIA) (AFP) – At least 16 people died in a double suicide bombing near a large camp for people made homeless by years of Boko Haram violence, Nigeria’s emergency services and locals said Monday.It was the biggest in a series of weekend attacks.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said the attack took place at about 8:45 pm (1945 GMT) on Sunday close to the Dalori camp in Kofa village, near the Borno state capital Maiduguri.

Regional NEMA spokesman Abdulkadir Ibrahim said a first attack by two female suicide bombers had been thwarted by security personnel who stopped them getting into the camp.

“Two other female suicide bombers also detonated their explosives at the adjoining Dalori Kofa village, where they killed 16 people,” he said in a statement.

Earlier tolls given by local people said at least 12 or 13 people had been killed but Abdulkadir said three of the injured had since died of their wounds.

“The 16 does not include the bombers,” he told AFP.

Dalori is about 10 kilometres (six miles) southeast of Maiduguri and is one of the largest camps for internally displaced people (IDP) in the remote region.

There are nearly 50,000 people in the two Dalori camps, with Dalori 1 housing some 35,000 and Dalori 2, which was targeted in the bombings, sheltering around 10,000.

Boko Haram has previously tried to target the camp: at least 85 people were killed in January last year when insurgents rampaged through communities near Dalori.

– A bloody weekend –

The latest attack is the most deadly in Nigeria since June 8, when 11 people were killed in a rare combined gun and suicide attack in the Jiddari Polo area of Maiduguri.

Also at the weekend, Boko Haram attacked Gumsuri village, 20 kilometres from Chibok, killing five people late on Saturday, locals said.

But they were fought off by local vigilantes who engaged them in a gunbattle.

“The vigilantes got the upper hand. They killed 12 attackers and apprehended six others,” said Bitrus Haruna, a vigilante from Chibok, whose account was corroborated by a community leader from the town.

“The Boko Haram gunmen were not lucky. They were confronted by the gallant vigilantes who killed 12 of the attackers and arrested six of them.”

Then on Sunday, Boko Haram jihadists killed three soldiers in an ambush near Wajirko village, 150 kilometres (90 miles) from Maiduguri, a local vigilante said.

Last weekend, gunmen killed eight members of a civilian militia force assisting the military in the Konduga area not far from the Dalori camp.

The spate of bombings underlines the threat still posed by the jihadists, despite official claims they are a spent force.

Since the start of Boko Harm’s uprising in 2009, at least 20,000 people have been killed since and more than 2.6 million made homeless, many of whom are facing severe food shortages or starvation.


Nigeria marks 1,000 days since kidnap of Chibok girls — 195 Chibok schoolgirls still wait to be rescued

January 8, 2017



Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Sunday he was hopeful the remaining 195 Chibok schoolgirls will be rescued, as he marked 1,000 days since the mass abduction by Boko Haram that drew global attention to the jihadist insurgency.

Buhari said his government was committed to finding the rest of the more than 200 schoolgirls who were abducted almost three years ago from the northeastern town of Chibok.

Only two dozen have been found or rescued since they were seized in April 2014, some of whom had babies in captivity.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (C) poses at State House in Abuja on October 19, 2016 with the 21 Chibok girls who were released by Boko Haram the previo...

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (C) poses at State House in Abuja on October 19, 2016 with the 21 Chibok girls who were released by Boko Haram the previous week ©Philip OJISUA (AFP/File)


“We are hopeful that many more will still return,” Buhari said. “The tears never dry, the ache is in our hearts.

“Our hearts will leap for joy, as more and more of our daughters return. It is a goal we remain steadfastly committed to.”

In the capital Abuja, Bring Back Our Girls campaigners were preparing to march to the presidential villa later Sunday.

“We just can’t forget the 195 of them that are still there,” Aisha Yesufu, a representative of the group, told AFP.

“We have to look and bring them back home,” Yesufu said.

“They are citizens. If president Buhari’s daughter was taken, would he just stand back? They are as Nigerian as his own daughter.”

– Intense criticism –

Last week, the Nigerian army said it had rescued another Chibok girl, Rakiya Abubakar, along with her six-month-old baby. Another two schoolgirls have been found in the past year by troops.

In October, 21 Chibok girls were released by Boko Haram after negotiations with the Nigerian government brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Swiss government.

The release was hailed as a breakthrough that would lead to the recovery of remaining girls in captivity.

At the time, presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said the government was hoping to secure the release of 83 other girls, but there has been no update on those negotiations.

Despite winning back swathes of territory from Boko Haram jihadists, Buhari has faced intense criticism for failing to recover the young captives, who became the defining symbol of Boko Haram’s brutal campaign to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state in the country.

Nigeria has recently trumpeted a major victory in its battle against Boko Haram, claiming in late December that its army has routed the jihadists from their Sambisa forest stronghold in Borno state.

But Boko Haram still poses a threat to the war-torn region, launching sporadic raids on remote villages in Nigeria and deadly attacks on soldiers in neighbouring Chad and Niger.


 (Has links to several previous articles)

Remember this from April 2014? From left: Michelle Obama, Cara Delevingne and Malala Yousafzai call for the release of the girls during the “hashtag campaign”

A member of

A member of “Bring Back Our Girls” movement carries placard to press for the release of the missing Chibok schoolgirls in Lagos, on April 14, 2016 ©PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (AFP/File)


Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja, Nigeria August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde


January 6, 2017

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) – Nigerian soldiers have found a schoolgirl who was one of more than 200 pupils kidnapped by Islamist militant group Boko Haram from their school in the northeastern town of Chibok in April 2014, an army spokesman said on Thursday.

The troops had found Rakiya Abubkar wandering around near Algarno, a former Boko Haram stronghold, the spokesman said. She had a six-month-old baby with her.

A total of 276 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram from Chibok in 2014 in one of the most infamous actions of their insurgency. More than 20 were released in October in a deal brokered by the International Red Cross. Others have escaped or been rescued but about 200 are believed to be still in captivity.

   Boko Haram has killed 15,000 people and displaced more than two million during a seven-year-old insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria.

The group controlled an area about the size of Belgium in early 2015 but has been pushed out of most of that territory over the last year by Nigeria’s army and troops from neighbouring countries.

Last month, the army said it had seized a key Boko Haram camp in its last enclave in Nigeria in the vast Sambisa forest. The jihadists still stage suicide bombings in northeastern areas and in neighbouring Niger and Cameroon.

(Reporting by Lanre Ola, Alexis Akwagyiram and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Dominic Evans)

Boko Haram: The Legacy of Terrorized School Girls — “Many of us didn’t stop crying until about three months after we were kidnapped.”

December 24, 2016
By Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

YOLA, Nigeria (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When Boko Haram militants decided to release some of the 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped two-and-a-half years ago in northeast Nigeria, Asabe Goni did not dare to dream that she would be among the girls allowed to go home.

During their time in captivity the girls were encouraged to convert to Islam and to marry their kidnappers, with some whipped for not doing so, but Goni said otherwise they were treated well and fed well until supplies recently ran short.

Hungry and ill, the 22-year-old did not even have the energy to stand up in October when the Islamist militants said that any girls who wanted to be released should line up. She just sat and watched as other girls scrambled to get into line.

“I was surprised when they announced that my name was on the list,” Goni told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in the first interview by one of the 21 freed girls to international media.

“It was a miracle,” she said, while expressing regret that she had to leave behind her cousin who was also abducted.

A group of 21 girls was released two months ago after Switzerland and the International Red Cross brokered a deal with the Boko Haram. They have been held since in a secret location in the capital Abuja for debriefing by the Nigerian government.

But the girls have been taken back to the Chibok area in Borno state to spend Christmas with their families, returning home for the first time since being seized from their school in April 2014, an act that sparked global outrage.

“I was very happy when they said I should go home,” Goni said in an interview in her family’s home in the northern city of Yola, surrounded by her father, stepmother, five siblings and several neighbors.

The kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok in April 2014 hit international headlines and prompted global figures, including U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and a list of celebrities, to support a campaign #BringBackOurGirls.

But none of the girls were sighted again until May this year when one of the students, Amina Ali, was found in a forest with a baby and a man claiming to be her husband.

Her discovery prompted hopes that the girls were alive and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari pledged to ensure the release of the remaining girls in captivity.


Recalling the abduction, Goni said the girls, which included her younger cousin Margaret with whom she had lived since she was a child, trekked for three days through Sambisa forest, Boko Haram’s vast woodland stronghold, before they arrived at a camp.

“I was in great pain,” she said. “Many of us didn’t stop crying until about three months after we were kidnapped.”

While the girls were not forced to convert to Islam, the militants told them that they would all be sent home if they did so, said Goni. Neither were they forced to marry, she added.

“But the way they talked to us about it, you would be afraid not to,” she said, recalling how the girls were sometimes flogged with a whip. “That is why some were convinced to marry.”

Goni said the girls were otherwise treated well by the militants. They were given material to sew clothes and fed three times a day until recently when food became scarce.

The girls told state officials they were not abused or raped by the militants, and all tested negative for sexually transmitted diseases, according to a confidential report based on a two-week debriefing prepared for Buhari and seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in November.

When Goni was released, she did not have time to say goodbye to Margaret, whom she calls her sister, or the other girls.

“Some of the other girls left behind started crying,” she said. “But the Boko Haram men consoled them, telling them that their turn to go home would come one day.”

Nigerian authorities say they are involved in negotiations aimed at securing the release of more of the girls, while the army has captured a key Boko Haram camp in Sambisa forest, Buhari said earlier today.

Far away from negotiations and army operations, Goni chatted with her siblings and helped her mother prepare breakfast as she spoke of her excitement of going to church on Christmas Day.

“I never knew that I would return (home),” Goni said. “I had given up hope of ever going home.”

(Reporting by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, Writing by Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit

Boko Haram kill 24 in northeastern Nigeria: community leader

June 17, 2016



© BOKO HARAM/AFP/File | Screen grab from a video made available by Boko Haram shows leader Abubakar Shekau

KANO (NIGERIA) (AFP) – Twenty-four people were killed when Boko Haram fighters opened fire on mourners, a local community leader said Friday, in the second attack in northeast Nigeria this week after a relative lull.

The attack happened at about 8:00 pm (1900 GMT) in Kuda village near the town of Gulak, in Adamawa state, according to Maina Ularamu, a former local government chairman in nearby Madagali.

Adamawa police spokesman Othman Abubakar, based in the state capital Yola, 255 kilometres (160 miles) away, confirmed the attack.

But he gave a lower death toll of 18 and said “many others were injured”.

Ularamu said the attack occurred during a “mourning celebration” to mark the death of a local community leader.

“They came on motorcycles and opened fire on the crowd, killing 24. Most of the victims were women. They looted food supplies and burnt homes and they left almost an hour later,” he told AFP.

“Gulak has been liberated from Boko Haram but the gunmen still live in villages nearby. They attack mostly to loot food supplies.

“Our people who fled their homes to escape Boko Haram attacks have been returning because they can’t live in the camps.

“But now they are facing threats from Boko Haram who launch nocturnal attacks.”

Boko Haram threatened to overrun Adamawa state in 2014, sweeping down from their Sambisa Forest stronghold which lies just across the border in Borno state to Mubi, 80 kilometres south of Gulak.

The rampage, which left bridges and homes destroyed on the only road south to Yola, forced tens of thousands of people from their homes to flee into camps and host communities in the state capital.

– Sporadic attacks –

Boko Haram was driven out of the state by a military counter-offensive that began in January 2015 and since there has been a relative calm despite sporadic attacks in the north of the state.

The last attack in Adamawa was on January 9, when seven people were killed and two others injured in a raid on Madagali.

Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up at a market in Madagali on December 28, killing 30, just days after President Muhammadu Buhari declared the Islamists “technically” defeated.

There has been a noticeable fall in attacks since the turn of the year and the military claims the Islamic State affiliate is severely weakened and pushed into border areas around Lake Chad.

But Thursday’s attack is an indication that the rebels, who want to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria, are not routed, and still have the capacity to strike.

The army in late April began an assault on Sambisa Forest, which is believed to have pushed out remaining fighters.

On Tuesday, fighters attacked Kutuva village in the Damboa area of Borno state, on the other side of the former game reserve, killing four and kidnapping four women.

At least 20,000 people have been killed and more than 2.6 million people forced from their homes since the insurgency began in 2009.



A screen grab made Tuesday from a video shows Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, delivering a message.  

A screen grab made from a video shows Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, delivering a message. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Remember this from April 2014? From left: Michelle Obama, Cara Delevingne and Malala Yousafzai call for the release of the girls during the “hashtag campaign”

The Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, where Boko Haram kidnapped 276 teenagers in the dead of night nearly two years ago (Getty)