Suspected militants from the Boko Haram Takfiri terrorist group have abducted around a dozen girls in overnight raids on several border villages in southeastern Niger.
A local councilor and an NGO said on Saturday that the abductions were carried out in the villages located in the Diffa region, near the border with Nigeria.
“We still don't know the number but we can estimate a dozen girls have been abducted from different villages," the Diffa regional councilor, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
Meanwhile, Kaka Touda, a human rights activist with the Alternative Espace Citoyen NGO in Diffa, said the terrorists “abducted 16 young girls in two villages in Toumour commune.”
He said nine girls had been kidnapped in the village of Blaharde and seven others in Bague.
One local source said “more than 50" unidentified armed men seized the girls.
The latest abductions come two days after gunmen killed seven local employees of a French drilling firm and a government official in a late night attack on their compound in southeastern Niger.
The Takfiri terrorist group routinely carries out attacks across Nigerian borders into Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.
Since 2009, Boko Haram militancy has left at least 20,000 dead and made over 2.6 million others homeless. The group pledged allegiance to the Takfiri Daesh group in 2015.
Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates as “Western education is forbidden,” has used kidnapping as a weapon of war, seizing thousands of women and young girls as well as men and young boys.
According to NGOs, over the past four years, Boko Haram has repeatedly attacked Diffa, a region of some 600,000 inhabitants, displacing around half of the local population.
A total of 219 girls were kidnapped by Daesh-linked Boko Haram terrorists from the Government-run Girls Secondary School in the Nigerian remote town of Chibok in Borno state in April 2014. 112 of them are still being held after four years. The rest have been found, escaped or released as part of a government deal with the terror group.
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