Witnesses stated on Saturday that Islamic militants kidnapped 17 girls in northeast Nigeria, while the military said it “remains resolute in forcefully confronting the terrorists.”
Two villagers told The Associated Press that members of the Boko Haram Islamist organisation raided Pemi, a community in Borno state’s Chibok local government area, on Thursday. Boko Haram’s decade-long fight against the Nigerian government has been centred on the state.
The Islamic State claimed credit for killing “many Christians” and setting fire to two churches and many residences in the Borno town of Bimi in a statement released late Friday.
Authorities say Boko Haram is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people in Nigeria and neighbouring West African countries.
The disappearance of the girls in Pemi brings to mind the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, a small hamlet 130 kilometres (80 miles) south of Maiduguri, Borno state’s capital, in 2014. More than a hundred pupils have been kidnapped and are still missing.
According to Hassan Chibok, a local leader, the militants raided Pemi on Thursday and targeted a church and Christians.
“After they rounded up the neighbourhood, they started firing intermittently,” Chibok added. “Because they couldn’t get out, they kidnapped 17 girls.” He claimed that eight of the girls hailed from the same family.
Yana Galang, another local, said that the fanatics demolished a church and targeted surrounding homes.