The terrifying sound of military assault rifles heralded the arrival of a group of Boko Haram insurgents on Friday about 10.30p.m. in Zada Shettimari Dawari, an agrarian community in Biu Local Government Area of Borno State to terrorise, rustle animals, loot food supplies, bicycles and abduct villagers.
Ya’alai, a resident, said dozens of insurgents attacked the community and fired several shots in the air. Traumatised villagers quickly ran to a nearby bush to hide from the attackers.
Zada Shettimari Dawari is a few kilometres from Damboa and about 90km to Maiduguri, Borno State capital.
A day after the attack, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) killed nine soldiers in an ambush on a military convoy along Damboa-Maiduguri highway.
Ya’alai told HumAngle, that this was the second attack in four months. In the previous attack, the insurgents in vehicles attacked the community, killed villagers and took away goats and cattle.
On Friday night, they came on foot and started shooting in the air, he said.
A 25-year-old woman who had a 14-month-old baby was abducted by the insurgents, who went house to house and abducted another 18-month-old baby, ten girls and women between the ages of 13 and 20, he explained.
The names of the kidnapped women and children have been withheld.
- A 13-year-old child-bride with her baby boy of 18 months.
Residents of the community sleep in the bush at night scared of another attack, the source said.
The faction of Boko Haram responsible for the abduction is still unknown but in the past, both factions had captured soldiers and abducted humanitarian workers, villagers and travellers across Nigeria’s Northeast.
Six years ago, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in Chibok and ignited a global outcry.
Maureen Kabrik, a “#Bring Back Our Girls” campaigner, in Abuja told HumAngle by telephone that drawing lessons or taking notes from the abduction of Chibok girls in 2014, it was obvious that the Nigeria Government had not learned anything from the past and all of this boiled down to a failure of governance.
She added that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari had failed in its primary responsibility to protect vulnerable citizens, young women, mothers and girls.
“Everyday we hear stories of people being killed and abducted and nothing is being done.
“It is very painful and unfortunate, the government must do everything that it can to rescue our children, daughters and mothers,” Kabrik said.
Hassana Maina, a gender advocate and host of ABCs of sexual violence, said:
“It is no secret that women and girls have never been safe, not in their homes where they often get domestically abused nor in the streets where they get sexually assaulted. Even in times of war, women and girls are often subjected to the most degrading and humiliating treatments unfit for humans.”
“Any nation that does not prioritise the safety of its citizens, especially women and girls, is a failed nation. It’s embarrassing that after the abduction of Chibok girls we are still faced with another great national tragedy and even more appalling that it’s not getting even the slightest bit of national attention,” she added.
On Sunday, June 28, Amnesty International on Twitter condemned Friday’s abduction of many women and girls by Boko Haram.
“We call on Boko Haram to immediately and unconditionally release all those abducted and others in their custody,” the organisation said.