Suspected Boko Haram terrorists have abducted 42 women in northeastern Nigeria, a security volunteer group said Wednesday.
They were abducted on Tuesday while collecting firewood in the bush near the town of Mafa, said Abba Modu, a member of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF).
“Four of the women were reportedly allowed to return home, while 42 were held back,” he said.
“They were abducted in a bush location between Gasa and Loskuri hamlets not far away from Mafa town,” he added.
Abba said his colleagues who were out on patrol to protect farmers heading to their farms had earlier in the day survived an ambush by Boko Haram at a location not far away from where the women were abducted.
“Our boys came under heavy firing on the same day from the Boko Haram ambushers at Kolkol Junction, which led to Loskuri, but thank God they managed to escape.”
The CJTF is a group of civilian volunteers who help the Nigerian military fight Boko Haram.
The terrorists have not yet sent a message demanding ransom for the women, as they usually do, Abba said.
The abductions occurred during widespread complaints about economic hardship caused by the Nigerian government’s removal of fuel subsidies in June, which led to an increase in the price of gasoline and other goods, resulting in a cost of living crisis.
The women, who were from the Shuwari camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), located along the Maiduguri-Mafa road in the Mafa local government area of Borno state, were forced to venture into the bushes to fetch goods to sell to supplement their meager incomes, which they mostly earned from cultivating people’s farms or selling harvests of their farm products.
The local government information officer of Mafa, Kachalla Maidugu, confirmed the incident to HumAngle in a phone interview. However, he clarified that the Shuwari camp is located within Jere local government, a council area that shares borders with Mafa.
“We received information yesterday that 46 women were abducted, but only four were allowed to return home while 42 were held back,” he said.
“We also got an update today that the terrorists were asking for N50,000 as ransom from each of the abducted women, but the people begged to pay N20,000 each, which I learned has been raised and is being taken to the abductors.”
The incident came as the latest of such abductions and threats to life by Boko Haram. This terror group birthed another deadly group, ISWAP, which has been active in northeastern Nigeria for more than a decade.
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