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VICE News

Boko Haram Allegedly Kidnaps 20 More Women in Northeast Nigeria

Nigeria's government is facing even more criticism over its inability to prevent kidnappings and attacks in the country's northeast.

by Jordan Larson
Jun 10 2014, 7:40pm

Photo via AP/Jossy Ola

Boko Haram is suspected of kidnapping at least 20 women from the nomadic Garkin Fulani settlement near Chibok, where more than 200 girls were kidnapped in April, in northeast Nigeria.

The women — and three men who tried to stop the kidnapping — were held at gunpoint, loaded into trucks, and taken to a location in Borno state, the BBC reported.

Eyewitnesses said the incident occurred Thursday, though police have not yet confirmed the exact time frame.

"We tried to go after them when the news got to us about three hours later, but the vehicles we have could not go far, and the report came to us a little bit late," Alhaji Tar, a member of a local vigilante group created to try and stop the attacks, told the BBC.

As has been the case in other recent incidents in northeast Nigeria, news of the mass kidnapping took several days to reach the capital, as roads remain unsafe and unreliable, and mobile phone stations have been destroyed from Boko Haram attacks.

Boko Haram Slaughtered Hundreds in Nigeria Waiting For Military Help. Read more here.

Meanwhile, the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram nearly two months ago are still being held captive, with the Nigerian military facing increasing criticism for their inability to bring the girls back to safety and to work to prevent further attacks by the insurgent group.

Video emerged on May 5 showing Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claiming responsibility for the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok the previous month.

Though the girls have been located, military forces fear a bloody struggle if they attempt to move in on the insurgents.

Boko Haram's attacks on at least three villages in the northeast last week left between 100 and 200 people dead, with some community leaders estimating as many as 500 deaths.

#BringBackOurGirls is not going to stop Boko Haram. Read more here.

Ali Ndume, a Nigerian senator representing Borno South, told The Guardian that approximately 86 burials had taken place in nine villages in the area after the attack.

"From what those who fled told us, there are more corpses in nearby bushes and the mountainside," said Ndume. "Many people that fled the communities are also trapped on the hills, as they are without food or water."

Local government leader Asabe Vilita also claimed that about 1,290 people had been displaced by the violence in the area.

After a May Amnesty International report found that the Nigerian military knew about the planned attack on Chibok and failed to act, criticism of the military has been growing.

“It is often reported that the military knew either about an attack, or was outgunned, or ran away,” John Campbell, a senior fellow for African policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, told VICE News last week. “Sometimes this may be true, but this is more often because the military is strapped for resources and can’t respond.”

Nigeria's Government is losing the war against Boko Haram. Read more here.

Meanwhile, there’s no indication that Boko Haram’s attacks and kidnappings could be coming to an end.

Last month, Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, claimed the group’s kidnappings were acts of revenge for the imprisonment of wives and children of Boko Haram fighters, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A new video released by the Islamist group Boko Haram on May 12 claims to show a number of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from the town of Chibok in Borno State in April.

"As long as we do not see our women and children we will never release these women and children,” he said in a recent video. “And we are certain, by God's grace, no one will live happily with his wife and children so long as ours are not allowed to live with us.”

Follow Jordan Larson on Twitter: @jalarsonist