Horror as Boko Haram Abducts over 185 Children, Women
Even as the whereabouts of the 219 schoolgirls abducted from the Government Secondary School Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria remains unknown, yet another round of bizarre abductions by the insurgent Boko Haram group has taken place. More than 185 women and children have been reportedly kidnapped in Gumsuri, close to Chibok where the insurgents took away the missing schoolgirls about eight months ago.
According to agency reports, the insurgents kidnapped at least 185 women and children, and killed 32 people in the raid, which happened on Sunday but only filtered out on Thursday due to lack of communication. “They gathered the women and children and took them away in trucks after burning most of the village with petrol bombs,” a local government official was quoted as saying. The militants reportedly arrived in the village from two directions, overwhelming local vigilantes who, in the past, collaborated with hunters and Nigerian soldiers to fend off similar attacks. ”They destroyed almost half the village and took away 185 women, girls and boys,” said Gumsuri resident Umar Ari, who trekked for four days to escape to Maiduguri, capital of the state.
Modu Kalli, another resident, said militants burnt houses after pouring gasoline on them and spraying the village with sophisticated weapons and poured canisters of gasoline on houses before setting them on fire. “We lost everything in the attack,” he said. “I escaped with nothing, save the clothes I have on me.” Hundreds Gumsuri residents continue to arrive in Maiduguri, which has been struggling to accommodate thousands of residents fleeing towns and villages overrun by Boko Haram.
In another development, a total of 116 Boko Haram members who attacked Amchide, a border town in Cameroon, have been killed, the Cameroonian army has stated. Residents told reporters that the gunmen attacked Amchide on Wednesday, some arriving in two vehicles and many others on foot. They raided the market area, setting fire to shops and more than 50 houses.
News of the attack on Amchide and the killing of the 116 insurgents came at the time news filtered out that men believed to be the sect’s members invaded Gumsuri village where they unleashed an orgy of violence leaving blood on their trail.
The Nigerian government has battled the insurgents in the last few years without decisively wiping them out because of external support for the terror group. Boko Haram’s exact funding streams remain unclear as the group largely operates outside the banking system. It appears that Boko Haram relies on a combination of local funding sources and lucrative criminal activity, particularly kidnapping for ransom, which apparently is the group’s main source of funding, to the tune of millions of dollars annually. U.S. officials estimate that Boko Haram receives approximately $1 million for the kidnapping and release of each wealthy Nigerians. Additionally, Boko Haram finances itself by bank robberies, protection money from local governors, and alleged foreign donations (such as Britain’s Al-Muntada Trust Fund and Saudi Arabia’s Islamic World Society). It is suspected that Boko Haram receives funding from local religious sympathisers and individuals opposing the Nigerian government, but hard evidence for this suspicion is lacking thus far even when the Australian negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davis named some suspects. The group receives limited funding from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, but that support has little impact on Boko Haram’s overall funding. Boko Haram’s financial relationship with other extremist groups appears limited.
Some security analysts have noted that Boko Haram is less reliant on large funding streams because it generally does not purchase sophisticated weapons and runs very low-cost operations. Many of the weapons at its disposal were stolen from the Nigerian military.
Security concerns in Africa’s most populous country remains a focal point in next year’s general election. The main opposition challenger, General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Alliance (APC), a former military head of state, has often accused the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of incompetence in ending the insurgency that had claimed thousands of lives and destroyed many businesses as well as scuttling the education of millions of children across the three hard-hit North-east states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.