“…to create a caliphate in northern Nigeria.”
ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Hundreds of civilians, including many children, have been kidnapped and are being used as human shields by Boko Haram extremists, a top Nigerian official confirmed Wednesday.
Several hundred people were abducted by the Islamic militants as they retreated earlier this month from Damasak in northeastern Nigeria, Mike Omeri, the Nigerian spokesman for the fight against Boko Haram, told The Associated Press Wednesday. He said he could not specify how many were kidnapped but local reports say as many as 500 people were taken.
The Islamic rebels went to Damasak’s primary schools and rounded up students and teachers and then retreated, said Omeri.
In Damasak, Souleymane Ali told Reuters: “They took 506 young women and children. They killed about 50 of them before leaving.”Boko Haram, which also abducted 300 schoolgirls in the region last April, wants to create a caliphate in northern Nigeria.
“Using children to carry and detonate explosives is not a new tactic for Boko Haram, but it is an intensification,” Elizabeth Donnelly, assistant head of Chatham House’s Africa program in London, told NBC. “Boko Haram has been abducting and conscripting children and young men and women for a long period for various purposes. They will be seen by the movement as expendable resources.”
Last week, Agence France-Presse and other news organizations reported that “dozens of Nigerian women who were forced to marry Boko Haram fighters were slaughtered by their ‘husbands’ before a battle with troops” in the northeast town of Bama. Witnesses told AFP that “they killed the women to prevent them from subsequently marrying soldiers or other so-called non-believers. … ‘The terrorists said they will not allow their wives to be married to infidels,’ said Sharifatu Bakura, 39, a mother of three.”
No one knows what will happen to the 500 children said on Tuesday to be taken by Boko Haram. But the rationale behind their capture seems all but certain to local experts. “The very young ones, they will give to the madrassas,” Borno state Senator Maina Maaji Lawan told the BBC,” referring to Islamic religious schools. “And the male ones between 16 and 25, they conscript them and they indoctrinate them as supply channels for their horrible missions.”
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, Boko Haram killed over 10,000 people in 2014, the deadliest year in their six-year insurgency against Nigerian authorities in hope of creating an Islamic caliphate. They have already reportedly slain more than 2,000 people in the first months of 2015 following a series of mass killings in the town of Baga, in the state of Borno.
A reader reminds that in 2014, Kerry and Clinton warned Nigeria for attacking the Muslim terrorists. And Obama Threatened Nigeria with Sanctions in 2013 for Fighting Boko Haram.
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