Baku. 3 January. REPORT.AZ/ At least 40 young people were abducted in Nigeria's restive northeastern Borno State by Boko Haram militants during an attack on their village earlier this week, witnesses have said.
Umaru Mustapha, a farmer, said his 24-year-old son – along with many others – had been abducted on Wednesday night by Boko Haram gunmen in the village of Malari in southern Borno's Damboa area.
"They came to Malari at about 8pm [local time] Wednesday and ordered the men to gather outside the village headman's residence to hear a religious sermon," the 62-year-old father, who has since fled to Maiduguri, told reporters on Friday.
"We all gathered, fearing for our safety, and listened to them for a few minutes, after which they separated those between 15 to 25 years old from the other men," he said.
"They then dismissed the rest of us, warning us not to cooperate with the military or security agencies," he added.
Mustapha went on to say that numerous residents had fled the village since Thursday, adding that he himself had fled to Maiduguri with his wife and five other family members.
Report informs referring to the foreign media, another local resident and witness, Mallam Bulama, who also fled to Maiduguri, said most of those abducted were young men.
"They gathered us together outside the home of the village headman to hear a sermon before taking over 40 of our unmarried young men," he said.
"They said they were not going to kill anybody, but we fled the village in fear anyway. We didn't believe them; we feared they might come back," he added.
A security source said the attack on Malari had not been reported to the military, adding that local authorities were currently investigating the incident.
Malari is located some 65km from Maiduguri, Borno State's provincial capital, and nearly 20km from Boko Haram's Sambisa camp.
Boko Haram has recently stepped up attacks in Nigeria's northeastern region despite repeated promises by President Goodluck Jonathan to crush the group's five-year-old insurgency.