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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nigerian militants kidnap 60 women and girls, 31 boys in north

Extremists have abducted 91 more people, including toddlers as young as 3, in weekend attacks on villages in Nigeria, witnesses said Tuesday, providing fresh evidence of the military's failure to curb an Islamic uprising and the government's inability to provide security.

The kidnappings come less than three months after more than 200 schoolgirls were taken in a mass abduction that embarrassed Nigeria's government and military because of their slow response. Those girls are still being held captive.

The most recent victims included 60 girls and women, some of whom were married, and 31 boys, witnesses said.

A local official confirmed the abductions, but security forces denied them.

There was no way to safely and independently confirm the report from Kummabza, 150 kilometres from Maiduguri, capital of Borno state and headquarters of a military state of emergency that has failed to curtail near-daily attacks by Boko Haram fighters.

Family members of the more than 200 schoolgirls who were abducted by Boko Haram in April are still trying to pressure the Nigerian government to attempt to free the girls. The Islamic militant group reportedly kidnapped another 60 females and 31 boys over the weekend. (Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters)

Vigilante leader Aji Khalil said Tuesday the abductions took place Saturday in an attack that killed four villagers. Khalil lives in Maiduguri but gets reports daily from other vigilante groups that have had some success in repelling Boko Haram with primitive weapons.

A senior councillor from the village's Damboa local government told The Associated Press that abductions had occurred but spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give information to reporters. He said the reports came from elderly survivors of the attack who had walked some 25 kilometres to the relative safety of other villages.

An intelligence officer with Nigeria's Department of State Security also said there had been a mass abduction, but he said it occurred in Kummabza and three nearby villages between June 13 and 15, and that no one knows the actual number abducted. He also spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

There was no way to reconcile the confusion, which also surrounded the first mass abduction in mid-April.