At least 17 people were killed and about 30 teenagers were kidnapped by suspected Boko Haram militants in a series of attacks in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno State, media reports said, citing a local government official, on Sunday. The latest attack comes despite the announcement of a ceasefire by the Nigerian military as well as the release of hundreds of schoolgirls who were abducted by the terrorist group earlier this year.
The gunmen reportedly attacked villages in Mafa area, about 30 miles east of the city of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, from Thursday through Saturday, Shettima Maina, the local government chief of Mafa, reportedly said.
"Seventeen persons were killed by the assailants after last Thursday's attack on Ndongo community," Maina said, according to Reuters. "Once they invade a community, they abduct all boys aged 13 years and above and take them to their base," Maina reportedly said. "The insurgents also abduct all girls aged 11 years and above.”
"According to our information, 30 young people were abducted in the last two days," Maina reportedly said on Sunday.
The latest abductions and killings could jeopardize ongoing ceasefire talks between the Islamist militant group and the Nigerian government, Xinhua reported, citing analysts. However, Nigerian officials reportedly said they are confident that the agreement, which includes a promise to release the more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted by the group in April, will be honored.
Maina also reportedly said that his village, which lies in a remote part of Borno State, was targeted by Boko Haram in nearly regular raids, forcing residents to flee to Maiduguri "for fear of being killed or losing their children.”
The Nigerian government has been trying to contain the spread of Boko Haram, which aims to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, since the group became active in 2009.