Boko Haram kidnapped at least forty boys in Malari village in northeast Borno State, Nigeria. The incident transpired on New Year’s Eve, but due to the town’s isolation, residents only reached the capital of Maiduguri to report it on Friday.
“They came in pick-up trucks armed with guns and gathered all the men in the village outside the home of the village chief where they preached to us before singling out 40 of our boys and taking them away,” said Bulama Muhammad. “My two sons and three nephews were among those taken away by the Boko Haram gunmen and we believe they are going to use them as conscripts.”
The militants attacked at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. No one fired weapons, despite being heavily armed.
“People ran out of their houses in fear but they warned no one should disobey them,” said Mohammed Zarami. “They took away over 40 (male) youths mostly between the ages of 15 to 23. As I am talking to you now, there is no youth in our village.”
The raid caused residents in nearby towns to flee in case Boko Haram targets them next. “When we heard of the kidnap of 40 boys in Malari by Boko Haram we decided to leave because we could be the next target,” said Alaramma Babagoni, who lives in Mulgwi. “Boko Haram has been abducting young men from villages in the area because we are close to their stronghold in Sambisa forest.”
The ambush occurred during the same week Nigerian parents asked the United Nations to do more to recover their missing schoolgirls. Boko Haram kidnapped almost 300 schoolgirls in Chibok in April, which received international criticism and launched the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.
“If the government cannot take action, we are asking for the U.N. to come in and help and if they reject, we just don’t know what to do,” said Reverend Enoch Mark, who lost two daughters in the kidnapping.
Parents claim the government keeps them “in the dark.” President Goodluck Jonathan said the government is doing all it can to free the remaining 219 girls.