Around 30 adolescents — some of them girls aged as young as 11 — have been abducted in northeast Nigeria over the weekend by suspected Boko Haram rebels, a local village chief told reporters on Sunday.
“The insurgents… grabbed young people, boys and girls, from our region,” said Alhaji Shettima Maina, who is in charge of the Mafa village around 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of the city of Maiduguri.
“They took all boys aged 13 and over… and all girls aged 11 and more. According to our information, 30 young people were abducted in the last two days.”
Another village elder, Mallam Ashiekh Mustapha, confirmed the account. Both men said 17 people were also killed in recent days in a Boko Haram attack on the nearby village of Ndongo.
Boko Haram, which has been waging a bloody insurgency since 2009, has been responsible for waves of attacks and abductions.
In April, the Islamist rebel group snatched more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok in northeast Nigeria, triggering an international outcry.
Kidnapping young women and girls — as well as forcibly conscripting young men and boys to fight for Boko Haram — is a well-established tactic by the militants.
Some estimates put the number of women held by the group in the high hundreds. Most are believed to be forced into marriages with rebels.
Maina said his village and areas around it were targeted in nearly daily raids by Boko Haram, prompting many residents to flee to the city of Maiduguri for safety.
He said he had pleaded for help from the Nigerian government but that so far none had been forthcoming.
With the 30 kids captured at the weekend, the number of Boko Haram recent captives has ballooned to about 90, excluding the 219 schoolgirls captured last April in Chibok, Borno state. The recent captives were taken from Adamawa and Borno states.