Saturday, April 19, 2014
Muslims in Africa: As many as 200 girls were abducted from their boarding school in northeastern Nigeria by heavily armed Boko Haram Islamists who arrived in trucks, vans and buses
The group has recently stepped up attacks in the region, and its leader released a video recently threatening to kidnap girls from schools. Dozens of gunmen stormed the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, about 81 miles west of Maiduguri, as the students slept in their dormitories, officials said. They engaged the soldiers guarding the school in a lengthy gun battle and then herded the girls onto vehicles. "Many girls were abducted by the rampaging gunmen who stormed the school in a convoy of vehicles," said Emmanuel Sam, an education official in Chibok. Sam could not say exactly how many girls were kidnapped, but one student who managed to get away said at least 200 students were taken. "The Boko Haram attackers came to town around 9 p.m. and made straight for the school where they had a gun battle with soldiers stationed at the school and killed two soldiers," said Chibok resident Maina Babagana. The gunmen then burned homes and businesses in the town in Borno state as they fled with the girls, witnesses said. A military spokesman in the region declined to comment on the abduction, saying that the Nigerian Defence Ministry would issue a statement later. Boko Haram, which translates as "western education is sin," is known to have carried out deadly attacks on other schools in the northeast. In a clip recently released by the group, leader Abubakar Shekau threatened to launch raids and abduct girls from schools. In early March 2014, Borno state government closed all of its 85 secondary schools and sent more than 120,000 students home following increasing Boko Haram attacks on schools. There are fears that the Muslim terrorists will turn the captured girls into sex slaves.