Sixteen women have been abducted in a fresh attack by suspected Boko Haram members in Adamawa State.
The member, representing Michika/Madagali Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Adamu Kamale, confirmed the abduction to The PUNCH on Thursday.
The military had yet to release a statement on the latest abduction as of the time of filing this report on Thursday.
Also, a security source in the state told one of our correspondents that the captives, comprising 14 women and two girls, were abducted on Tuesday evening.
The source added that the news of the incident did not get to Yola, the state capital, because telecommunications equipment, destroyed by the sect in previous raids, had not been rebuilt.
“Fourteen women and two girls were abducted by Boko Haram in the Sabon Gari area of Madagali Local Government Area yesterday.
“The women were abducted while they were fetching water and doing fishing in the area,” the source added.
The news of abduction of the women came just as the leader of the sect, Abubakar Shekau, according to AFP appeared in a video on Thursday, telling his followers that his end had come.
Shekau was said to have called on his followers to embrace peace, but the video did not expressly confirm the claim.
On the abduction in Madagali, the source said, “The members of the vigilance group that escorted them fled on sighting the Boko Haram who were in large number and were armed with heavy weapons.”
The source added that two of the women were able to escape from the Boko Haram ambush while the rest were taken away.
The source said security operatives arrested one of the members of the vigilance group, who were with the women when they came under the Boko Haram attack.
Also, Kamale, in his version of the incident, said the women were ambushed and taken away as they fished in local community water.
The lawmaker added, “They are still attacking our people. Imagine 16 women being taken away at a time?
“This incident happened two days back (Tuesday) in a community near Sabon-Gari in the Madagali Local Government Area.
“These women can be killed. If they keep coming and taking our people away, how many more will these insurgents abduct?
“All the communities that share borders with the dreaded Sambisa Forest are porous and exposed. These people get in and get out as it pleases them. We are even suspecting connivance between them and the security agencies for economic gains.”
Kamale specifically sought the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari, advising him to always take a second look at security reports being presented to him.
The BBC recalls that Shekau, for the first time in more than a year, appeared in a new propaganda video, rallying his fighters, who had been under heavy pressure from regional forces.
He however appeared to signal that his time in charge of the terror group might be coming to an end.
In a message that contained none of the defiant bluster, taunts and denunciation of political leaders of previous videos and will likely be interpreted as an admission of defeat, the dejected-looking Shekau declared in Hausa, “For me, the end has come.”
Shekau, who in March 2015 pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in an audio message, added, “This is a message of greeting and joy for you to see my face.
“This is my desire: that whoever sees this, will hear nothing but greetings between me and you. Only Allah knows the rest, as you believed (and) as you submitted. For me the end has come.
“This is only the message I want to send to you for you to understand that this is certainly I. This is why I did this.
“May Allah protect us so that no hypocrite stands between us. May Allah protect us from the devil so that he doesn’t achieve his evil among us.
“May Allah protect us and may we stand firm on the path of Allah. I thank my creator.”
A military source in the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, told AFP, “Watching Shekau in this video, the message is clear: the game is over.
“For this arrogant and boastful terrorist to speak in such a meek and subdued tone shows he has been trounced beyond his imagination.”
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters in its reaction, said the military would continue to intensify its campaigns against the Boko Haram insurgents in spite of the purported show of remorse by Shekau.
The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said in a statement on Thursday that the Armed Forces would do everything to consolidate their recent successes against the Boko Haram in the North-East.
The Defence spokesman called on Nigerians to discountenance the new video, saying it could be a ploy by the Boko Haram to catch Nigerians off-guard to carry out devastating attacks.
He said, “It has come to the notice of the Defence Headquarters about the online video clips purportedly released by the Boko Haram terrorists’ leader, Abubakar Shekau, or his replica in Arabic and Hausa languages, showing remorse and asking for forgiveness.
“The DHQ wishes to state emphatically that not minding the content of the video clips, the Armed Forces of Nigeria would continue to fight in order to consolidate the successes recorded so far and assuring Nigerians that no inch of the Nigerian territory would be allowed to be bastardised by any force of darkness again.”
He quoted the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, as having commended the officers and men of the military for their sacrifices and the efforts to degrade the capacity of the insurgents.