Insurgents from Boko Haram have reportedly kidnapped more than 100 people from a village in northeastern Nigeria. Details are still emerging on the raid in Gumsuri that occurred on Dec. 14. News of the attack has been slow to reach the media due to the remoteness of the region and the damage to telecommunication towers from previous attacks.
Storming the village from two directions, the insurgents overwhelmed local vigilantes firing from machine guns. According to a local government official, “They gathered the women and children and took them away in trucks after burning most of the village with petrol bombs,” CNN reported. Some 35 people were reportedly killed in the attack, and one estimate put the number of those kidnapped at 172. A local source said that the attackers “gathered the people, shot dead over 30 people and took away more than 100 women and children in two open-top trucks.”
A local militia leader told Bloomberg that 191 people were abducted in the attack, including “able-bodied young men and women, including children.” Gumsuri is southwest of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
Boko Haram has become notorious for kidnapping civilians. In April, the group abducted 276 girls from their boarding school in the Borno state town of Chibok, which lies only about 15 miles away from Gumsuri. Although some of the schoolgirls have since escaped, an estimated 219 remain in the terrorist group’s control.
Over the weekend, Boko Haram released a new video in which a man claiming to be leader Abubakar Shekau threatened to attack the Emir of Kano, Muhummadu Sanusi II, in retaliation for his call to Kano residents to arms themselves against the terrorist group.
In mid-November, the emir commented at a prayer meeting: “People should not sit idle and say prayer is the only solution. People should be made aware of the importance of being in a state of preparedness and make sure they acquire what they need to protect themselves. We should be ready to give our lives.” On Nov. 28, a deadly attack with multiple bombs on the emir’s mosque in Kano killed over 100 people.
In the recent video, Shekau did not claim responsibility for the mosque attack but threatened Sanusi, saying: “Now listen to me Emir of Kano. I am talking to you and only you because of your recent utterances. Let me inform you now that you are late, you should know that you are only but the King of Kano, King of Central Bank, King of money, you are only Sanusi Lamido.” The emir was governor of Nigeria’s central bank until February.
Shekau went on to say: “Because you are made the Emir of Kano that is why you got angry and was calling on the Vigilante groups and hunters to attack us. Let me tell you that the hunters and the vigilante groups will fail and you will also fail.”
Reports noted that Shekau also condemned the government of Saudi Arabia and threatened further violence and kidnapping. “We will kill you people, we will capture hostages and keep selling some,” he stated.
Today, the United States issued a statement in support of Nigeria’s efforts to rescue the girls who were abducted in April from nearby Chibok and others kidnapped by the group.