Gunmen kidnapped 17 girls in Borno state (northeastern Nigeria), according to the Associated Press, yesterday, Saturday, quoting eyewitnesses and two residents.
They said that militants from the “Boko Haram” group attacked, last Thursday, the village of Bimi in Borno state, from which the group has led its rebellion against the Nigerian government for a decade.
In a statement issued late Friday, ISIS claimed responsibility for killing “many Christians” and setting fire to two churches and a group of homes in an attack on the village of Bimi.
Local leader Hassan Chibok confirmed, in a press statement, that gunmen targeted a church and Christian people when they stormed Bimi last Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
“They were firing intermittently after they surrounded the place,” Chibok said. “Some of the targets were unable to escape, so they kidnapped 17 girls, 8 of whom belonged to one house.”
In the same context, Yana Galang, a resident of the area, said that “the gunmen destroyed a church building, and targeted houses close to it.”
“Some of them (the kidnapped girls) are between 10 and 12 years old,” she added.
She explained that the gunmen stopped their car near the residential complexes, picked up the girls and put them in the car.
In this regard, Nigerian military spokesman, Onima Nwachukwu, said Friday that the rebels are trying “desperately” to increase their influence.
Depleted by our forces, and as a result of the confused situation in their ranks, and the massive surrender of Boko Haram, the terrorists, in a desperate move, are embarking on a recruitment campaign to enhance their strength with child soldiers, who can easily indoctrinate them and manage them financially on the cheap.
“They also recruited minors, children and women, and used them as sex slaves,” he continued.
The abduction of the Bemi girls brought to mind the abduction of 276 schoolgirls in 2014 in the remote town of Chibok, 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of Maiduguri (the capital of Borno state), where more than 100 of the girls are still missing.
While the authorities blame “Boko Haram” for killing tens of thousands of people in Nigeria and neighboring countries in West Africa, the Nigerian army confirmed that it “remains resolute in the face of terrorists,” according to the same agency.