NEWS out of the village of Doron Baga where on Sunday a Boko Haram raid was carried out is slowly emerging with an ever changing, and disturbing picture. SaharaReporters gathered that up to 85 residents of the village who were abducted by the Islamist group sat stranded on an island inside the lake for some days, but that event has now involved Chadian military forces.
A Nigerian military official who spoke with SaharaReporters on the
condition of anonymity, said that the 85 have now been moved to
Chadian territory for their safety, and that at least six men, with
three reportedly dressed as women who accompanied them to the
island, have been arrested. The arrested are now all being held by
Chadian officials. At press time it is unclear if the six will be
turned over to Nigerian military officials.
It is a bizarre twist to the ever-widening story of a Nigerian-based
Islamist group’s activities continuing to spill over into neighboring
countries. Cameroon was the first, where in recent weeks the wife
of a high-ranking government official was kidnapped. Now Boko
Haram activities have touched Chad.
The Nigerian military source also detailed just how members of the
Boko Haram had moved their captives to the island within days of
the Sunday Doron Baga raid. Boko Haram members had reportedly
told Chadian officials administering the island, that they were
high-ranking Nigerian officials and the transported civilians were
under their protection. Some Boko Haram members reportedly left
the island by boat shortly thereafter.
Yet, Chadian military and civil personnel on the island became
suspicious. They began interviewing the nearly one hundred
people who were now temporary residents about where they came
from, and why they were there.
One was a woman who spoke up. She is from Doron Baga, and she
had told the Chadians a different story of the Sunday attack on her
lakeside village, and details about her kidnapping. What she said
did not square with what the Nigerians had told them. Her details
matched-up with news that slowly emerged of the latest Boko
Haram raid. Others soon stepped forward. SaharaReporters has
learned that both Nigerian and Chadian military officials are now in
direct contact over the mass abductions.
The attack on Doron Baga Sunday was the start of the week for the
Islamist group, and they have since stepped up their attacks and
kidnappings with astonishing speed and precision. The attacks
and kidnappings continue to this day where dozens of young boys,
believed to be more than 50, were reportedly kidnapped out of
Dikwa town, in central Borno state. It is another remote town
where the abduction took place on Friday, located in Nigeria’s
Northeastern region. The military did not respond to a request for
comment, according to several news sources reporting that story.
A security source said they were aware of the Friday incident but
were still investigating the details.
Like many of the villages targeted by Boko Haram, Doron Baga is
in the remote Lake Chad region where information is slow to
emerge. It is also the region where there has been mass
destruction to local communication infrastructure, brought on in
large part by the Islamist insurgents, thus making immediate
access to security and military officials poor.
Several witnesses who fled Sunday’s raid on Doron Baga said the
Boko Haram militants had burned down several houses, a market,
a school, and that as many as 97 people were unaccounted for.
The news coming out of the tiny island on Lake Chad, where
Nigerian military officials believe their nationals were stranded,
may help to explain the whereabouts of the unaccounted.