An Islamic militant group that has been terrorizing non-Muslim communities in the northern Nigerian states of Boro, Yobe, and Kebbi since the beginning of the year struck again on September 20, burning villages, killing four policemen and kidnapping seven Christians. The Borno governor informed media on Friday that he had ordered security forces to track down the members of the Islamic group.
According to reports, about 60 members of the Muslim sect known in Nigeria as the Talibans, attacked police stations in the towns of Bama and Gwoza, Borno state. After retreating, the militants carried out raids on Christian communities, killing, raping, and burning down houses.
One local Christian, Ezekiel Ibrahim told Compass news that the militants attacked several villages and police stations, killing people they perceive to be enemies of Islam, Christians in particular.
“Reporters from some of the Christian communities affected indicate that seven Christians were taken away by the Muslim fanatics in Bama and Gwoza local government area,” Ibrahim said.
Nigerian authorities announced Friday that 14 corpses had been recovered from areas targeted by the raids. More victims reportedly died in the violence, but their bodies could not be recovered due to the area’s mountainous terrain.
Police Deputy Inspector General Mike Okiro told a press conference in Madiuguri on Saturday that some of the Muslim militants were killed in a joint operation carried out by the police and the Nigerian army. He said that security forces in the neighboring Republic of Cameroon have arrested five militants who attempted to escape there. The Nigerian government has reportedly begun negotiations with Cameroon authorities to extradite the suspects.
“We are happy the Cameroon authorities have intensified security along their side of the mountains,” said Borno governor Ali Modu Sherif.
Okiro also assured reporters that the search for violent fanatics would continue until the remaining members of the militant sect were tracked down. He disclosed that a number of firearms were recovered from the militants during the counterattacks against them.
Meanwhile, police officials said they are attempting to find the location of the seven Christians kidnapped in the incident.
Sources say the Islamic militants involved are predominantly Muslim university students, and claim affiliation with the Islamic Taliban of Afghanistan.