Boko Haram in Nigeria: Gamboru Ngala kidnapping fears impact dozens of women

Many displaced individuals are believed to have been taken by Boko Haram jihadists in north-eastern Nigeria.

According to locals, the victims were primarily women residing in a camp in Gamboru Ngala town, having fled their homes due to attacks by the insurgents.

The abductions took place when the group went to gather firewood for cooking or selling, they mentioned.

There is a wide range of estimates regarding the number of people kidnapped, with figures ranging from almost 50 to over 300.

In 2014, the biggest mass abduction by Boko Haram took place when over 270 schoolgirls were kidnapped from their dormitory in Chibok town, located in north-eastern Borno state.

The most recent abductions occurred a few days ago, but information is just coming out now due to the remote location of Gamboru Ngala, near Lake Chad, where the militants have damaged communication facilities. Residents in the area occasionally travel to Cameroon to use their phones.

Borno state officials informed the BBC that a response team had been sent to the area where the individuals were taken but did not provide additional information. The road to the town is currently inaccessible.

The abductions occur during a period when the state government of Borno has reported that 95% of Boko Haram militants are no longer active.

There has been no official statement from either the federal government or local authorities regarding the recent abductions. However, the chairman of the local government, Umar Mohammed, has acknowledged the kidnappings without specifying the exact number.

According to a resident in Gamboru Ngala, 113 individuals were reportedly abducted by Boko Haram militants.

“On Sunday, we received reports that more than 200 displaced individuals ventured out to gather firewood. Tragically, they were abducted by a militant group, leaving only the most vulnerable to make it back,” shared a local resident who preferred to remain anonymous due to safety concerns.

According to an anti-jihadist militia leader in the region, Shehu Mada, the abductions were attributed to a faction of Boko Haram called the Islamic State of West Africa Province (Iswap), as reported by AFP news agency.

According to him, 47 women were captured, but some were able to get away.

The conflict in northern Nigeria has been ongoing since 2009, resulting in the deaths of over 40,000 individuals and displacing two million people.

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