Almost three years after Boko Haram hauled over 200 girls from their school in Chibok, Borno State, into captivity, the terror sect has killed at least four people and seized scores of women and children at different locations in the state.
One of the attacked villages was razed.
The abduction is believed to be one of the biggest since the April 14, 2014 raid of Chibok.
The terrorists struck at Pulka and Dumba villages close to the border with Cameroon on Thursday, taking the women and children.
A herdsman was shot dead for refusing to pay them ‘protection’ fee.
Also killed by the marauders were 50 of the man’s cattle.
Then on Friday night, they turned their attention on Kaye village in Damboa Local Government area of the state, killing three residents.
But it was Pulka they first raided, taking with them 18 girls.
Reports said they drove into the village in pickup vans at about 6am on the fateful day and proceeded to seize 14 girls aged 17 and below.
Panic stricken villagers fled into the bush on sighting the invaders, said a resident.
“They picked four other girls who were fleeing the raid they came across in the bush outside the village,” said the source who asked not to be named.
Another resident said the girls would likely end up as brides for the fighters.
“They didn’t harm anyone during the raid and they made no attempt to shoot people running away from the village,” he said.
The extremists killed a herdsman in the other raid on the outskirt of Dumba, close to Lake Chad.
Sources said the man had tried to escape after refusing to pay ‘protection fee’ to the insurgents.
“When the Boko Haram gunmen came for the money they realised he had left with everything and they decided to go after him on their motorcycles,” the source said.
“They caught up with him near Dumba where they slaughtered him and shot dead 50 of his cattle.
“They took four women from the man’s family and the rest of the herd.”
On Friday night, Boko Haram terrorists invaded Kaye village, setting houses on fire.
They then began to fire on fleeing residents, three of whom were killed in the process.
A resident said they rode into the village on bicycles. He said many residents were missing.
Efforts to locate them at the nearest village, Gumsiri, proved abortive, he said.
The terrorists are believed to be from the Boko Haram faction headed by Abu Musab Al-Barnawi, son of Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf.
Barnawi was appointed last year by the Islamic State group to replace Abubakar Shekau. Barnawi had pledged allegiance to the Middle East jihadist group in 2015.
The emergence of Barnawi has brought with it divisions in the group.
The Barnawi faction has criticized Shekau for mass killings and suicide attacks against civilians.
Barnawi and his loyalist Mamman Nur, who is seen as the real leader, had promised residents in areas under their control would not be harmed as long as they did not cooperate with Nigerian troops fighting Boko Haram.
But in recent weeks the Islamist fighters have intensified raids in areas near Lake Chad, stealing food from residents.
They have also killed several civilians they accused of cooperating with the military.
Boko Haram, in October last year, released 21 girls of the Chibok girls after negotiation with the federal government.
It was widely thought at the time that more of the girls would be released soon afterwards.
There was no immediate response from the government or the military.
Efforts to reach top officials by phone did not succeed.