Boko Haram, a Nigerian terrorist organization, kidnapped more than 400 women and children from Damasak, in the wake of the town being freed by a coalition of African forces.
Troops from Niger and Chad seized the city in northern Nigeria, only for Boko Haram militants to abduct an unconfirmed number of hostages, killing others while fleeing the area.
According to Reuters:
“They took 506 young women and children (in Damasak). They killed about 50 of them before leaving,” a trader called Souleymane Ali told Reuters in the town. “We don’t know if they killed others after leaving, but they took the rest with them.”
The international community took notice when Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls last April, allegedly motivated by the group’s hatred of Western education. Even Michelle Obama posted on social media with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. The schoolgirls’ whereabouts are still unknown.
Abductions are central to Boko Haram’s campaign of terror, according an article in The Washington Post:
The kidnapped are used as soldiers. They’re used as wives. They’re used as bargaining chips. They’re used as cooks, as suicide bombers and as future soldiers. Boko Haram, unlike the Islamic State, doesn’t worry about attracting fresh recruits. They simply take them.
Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State last month, a group with swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq. The Islamic State has claimed terrorist attacks spanning Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
The Nigerian militant organization has been seeking to establish an Islamic state in the northern part of the country since 2009.
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