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Boko Haram abducts women, children


In retaliation for the arrest of members’ wives and relatives, the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, announced on Monday that it had kidnapped some women, young girls and children.

A BBC report quoted leader of the sect, Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, to have said in a video just released that the sect was holding the hostages until relatives of members in custody were released.

“If they do not leave our wives and children, we will not leave them,” Shekau was quoted as saying. He was said to have said that anyone taken by the group could begin a new life as a “servant,” without going into detail.

The BBC report also said the video showed women and children purportedly being held.

In the video, a Kalashnikov assault rifle sits over Shekau’s right shoulder as he speaks while the background is covered with a rug. “It’s unclear when the video was shot,” the report said.

 “In the video, Mr. Shekau also said the group was behind two recent attacks in the North-East, which left an estimated 240 people dead.”

Reacting to the development, Director of the Defence Information, Brig.- General Chris Olukolade, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that Boko Haram should leave innocent civilians out of its conflict with the government.

Olukolade said, “We will continue to do our jobs as enshrined in the constitution of this country. Nobody can blackmail us; they (Boko Haram) should stop this criminal conduct.”

“They should stop terrorising innocent people; we will not be blackmailed from doing our work.

“They should leave the innocent civilians out of this. The military will continue to do its work to provide security for Nigeria.”


However, there have been no cases of abduction of women and children announced by the security agencies.

The BBC report equally said, “Mr. Shekau confirmed that the group had carried out a series of attacks in recent weeks, including a raid on  May 7 by about 200 heavily-armed men on Bama village, in Borno State, near Nigeria’s north-eastern border with Cameroon.

“We are the ones that carried out the Bama attack,” he said.

Shekau also admitted that members of the sect also carried out a “small operation” on the northern town of Baga on April 16.

He equally dismissed claims that sect members were killed in a shoot-out with security forces as “lies.”

“None of our people was killed in Baga,” Shekau added.

The Nigerian Army had said its men killed 30 Boko Haram members in Baga, while one soldier and six civilians also died.

Human rights groups had accused the security forces of retaliating with excessive force, killing nearly 200 people and setting fire to many buildings in the town, an allegation the authorities had denied.

In April, Boko Haram had released a French family of seven that were abducted in Cameroon in the first cross-border attack carried out by the group.

Reuters had quoted a confidential Nigerian government report, seen by it, to have revealed that Boko Haram was paid more than $3m to free the hostages.

Both France and Cameroon denied paying a ransom.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan again on Monday met behind closed-doors with security chiefs on how best to tackle the security challenges being faced in parts of the country.

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