#AceNewsServices – NIGERIA – May 06 – (Reuters) – Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped eight girls aged 12 to 15 from a village near one of their strongholds in north-east Nigeria overnight, police and residents said on Tuesday.
“They were many, and all of them carried guns. They came in two vehicles painted in army colour. They started shooting in our village,” said Lazarus Musa, a resident of Warabe, where the attack happened.
A police source, who could not be named, said the girls were taken away on trucks, along with looted livestock and food.
The Islamist rebels are still holding more than 200 girls they abducted from a secondary school on April 14.
‘Instructions from God’
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau sent a video – obtained by the AFP news agency – in which he said for the first time that his group had taken the girls.
Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden”, has attacked numerous educational institutions in northern Nigeria.
In the video, Abubakar Shekau said the girls should not have been in school in the first place, but rather should get married.
“God instructed me to sell them, they are his properties and I will carry out his instructions,” he said.
Reports last week said that some of the girls had been forced to marry their abductors, who paid a nominal bride price of $12 (£7).
Others are reported to have been taken across borders into Cameroon and Chad.
President Goodluck Jonathan has said everything was being done to find the girls.
Boko Haram analyst Jacob Zenn says the girls, aged 16 to 18, have probably been split into smaller groups and it will be hard to track them.
“Any effort to rescue them will have to be done in a very piecemeal fashion and might take over a decade,” he told the BBC’s Newsday programme.
Boko Haram Analyst Jacob Zenn
For the past one and half years Boko Haram has been carrying out kidnappings of girls but this one was on a much larger scale than anything else. It should also be noted that Boko Haram began this tactic when the Nigerian security forces also began kidnapping, or rather taking as prisoners, the wives and children of Boko Haram members.
On an operational level Boko Haram is likely using these girls as human shields and keeping them in their camps which will prevent the Nigerian air force from bombing those camps.
Furthermore there is also the potential monetary reward if Boko Haram can sell some of them back to their parents.
It’s very likely that the girls have been split up into dozens of groups – maybe into twos or threes or fours. Any effort to rescue them will have to be done in a very piecemeal fashion and might take over a decade.
When you look at Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army(LRA) in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, they took some girls captive more than a decade ago and some of them still remain captive even though most of them have been freed or escaped.
Contributions from Jacob Zenn is the African Affairs analyst at The Jamestown Foundation
REUTERS – BBC – AFP – JAMES TOWN FOUNDATION