Local officials and a villager have said that Boko Haram insurgents reclaimed the village of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria. The militants abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls from Chibok in April; most are still missing.
Boko Haram fighters in Nigeria reportedly controlled Chibok on Friday, reclaiming the village where the group abducted more than 200 schoolgirls seven months ago. Bana Lawan, chairman of the Chibok local government, told the Associated Press that the insurgents entered the town on pickup trucks and motorcycles on Thursday.
Nobody can tell you what is happening there today because everybody is just trying to escape with their lives,” Lawan said. A villager who had fled Chibok spoke to Reuters news agency by phone, saying that many villagers were killed in the attack.
The insurgents arrived at about 5 p.m. on Thursday, shooting sporadically, forcing people to flee into the bush,” the villager said.
‘Already suffered too much’
Nigeria’s army and government, under stern criticism for their handling of the Boko Haram uprising, were not immediately available to comment on the reports. In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that the US was monitoring the situation closely.
We condemn these attacks in Chibok, a community that has already suffered too much,” Psaki said. We remain committed to helping the government of Nigeria address the threat posed by extremist organizations.
In a separate incident on Friday, police announced that a suicide bomber killed six people, including three police officers, in the northern city of Kano. There was no immediate claim of responsibility although Kano has often been the target of Boko Haram bombings during the Islamist group’s five-year insurgency.
Boko Haram’s mass kidnapping in Chibok this April prompted a global campaign to ensure their safe release, entitled “Bring Back Our Girls.” Some of the captives were able to escape in the first days of the hostage drama, but 219 of the abducted schoolgirls are still missing.
Nigeria’s military chief said in October that Boko Haram had agreed to an immediate ceasefire, with the girls’ impending release a part of the deal. However, the group’s purported leader Abubakar Shekau released a video last month rejecting any truce accord. He also claimed that the kidnapped girls were “an old story,” and that most had converted to Islam and been married off to his fighters.
Amid increased activity in recent weeks, Boko Haram has seized control of several dozen towns and villages in the northeastern states of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno, where Chibok is located.
The group’s redoubled campaign is problematic for President Goodluck Jonathan, who is scheduled to seek re-election on February 14 next year !!!