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Nigerien soldiers hold up a Boko Haram flag that they had seized in the recently retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria, March 18, 2015. Chadian and Nigerien soldiers took the town from Boko Haram militants earlier this week. The Nigerian army said on Tuesday it had repelled Boko Haram from all but three local government districts in the northeast, claiming victory for its offensive against the Islamist insurgents less than two weeks before a presidential election. Picture taken March 18. REUTERS/Emmanuel Braun - RTR4TZO2

Boko Haram abducts 22 girls, women in Borno

Boko Haram militants have abducted 22 girls and women in two separate raids in northeast Nigeria, residents and vigilantes said on Friday.

In the first attack on Thursday, the terrorists raided the village of Pulka near border with Cameroon where they kidnapped 18 girls.

“Boko Haram fighters from Mamman Nur camp arrived in pickup vans around 6:00 a.m. and seized 14 young girls aged 17 and below while residents fled into the bush,” a Pulka community leader told AFP on phone.

“They picked four other girls who were fleeing the raid they came across in the bush outside the village.”

According to the community leader, the attackers were loyal to a faction headed by Abu Musab Al-Barnawi, the son of Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf.

Barnawi was appointed last year by the Islamic State group to replace Abubakar Shekau, who had pledged allegiance to the Middle East jihadist group in 2015.

Another resident confirmed the raid and said the girls were likely to end up as brides for the fighters.

“They didn’t harm anyone during the raid and they made no attempt to shoot people running away from the village,” said the resident.

In the second incident outside the village of Dumba, close to Lake Chad, the militants killed a herdsman who had tried to escape after refusing to pay protection money, said Adamu Ahmed, a member of an anti-Boko Haram militia.

“When the Boko Haram gunmen came for the money they realised he had left with everything and they decided to go after him on their motorcycles.

“They caught up with him near Dumba where they slaughtered him and shot dead 50 of his cattle.

“They took four women from the man’s family and the rest of the herd,” Ahmed said.

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