Nigeria jihadists kidnap 20 children: residents

Nigeria

Nigerian military trucks in Kagara where gunmen kidnapped dozens of students and college staff on February 18, 2021. Kidnappers have released 53 people, including women and children, whom they had seized on a bus in Nigeria.

Photo credit: Kola Sulaimon | AFP

Jihadists killed two people and kidnapped 20 children in Nigeria's Borno state, where Islamist militants are waging a more than decade-long insurgency, a community leader and two residents said Friday.

Thursday's assault on Piyemi village took place near Chibok town where eight years ago Boko Haram jihadists abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in an attack that sparked international outcry.

Fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) stormed Piyemi on Thursday afternoon, killing two men and seizing 13 girls and seven boys, according to the residents and the community leader.

The ISWAP militants dressed in military uniforms started shooting and looting shops in the village and setting homes on fire, residents said.

"They shot dead two people and took away 13 girls and seven boys aged between 12 and 15," resident Samson Bulus told AFP by phone.

The militants who attacked from nearby Sambisa forest herded "the 20 kidnapped children into a truck they seized from the village and drove them into the forest", said another resident Silas John.

Military officials were not immediately available to comment on the attack.

But a local Chibok government official confirmed the attack without giving details.

A community leader also gave similar details about the jihadist assault and the abducted children.

"This attack was the third in recent days and underscores the risks villages around Chibok face from jihadists," said Ayuba Alamson, the community leader from Chibok.

Residents returned to Piyemi village Friday after spending the night in the bush to escape the attackers.

The jihadists razed part of the village, including a church, and burnt 10 vehicles in the three-hour long attack, said resident John.

Troops are stationed in Chibok since the 2014 schoolgirl abduction but deadly jihadist raids continue in the area, with the militants launching attacks from their nearby forest enclaves.

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