MOSCOW, January 3 (Sputnik) – Gunmen believed to be from the Boko Haram group allegedly kidnapped 40 young men in a remote village of Malari, located in Nigeria’s restive Borno State, AFP reports, citing local residents.
Another witness, Mohammed Zarami, told Reuters that the young men were mostly mostly between the ages of 15 to 23. "As I am talking to you now, there is no youth in our village," he said.
"My two sons and three nephews were among those taken away by the Boko Haram gunmen," Muhammad stated. He fears his relatives will be forced to join the militant group.
Residents, who fled the village, said the men were presumably taken to Sambisa forest, where one of Boko Haram’s key bases is believed to be located. Following the mass kidnapping, Malari residents have relocated to Maiduguri, the capital of the Borno State.
"Boko Haram has been abducting young men from villages in the area because we are close to their stronghold in Sambisa forest," he explained.
Boko Haram is a militant group, which aims at establishing an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. Large swathes of land in the Borno State, as well as in neighboring Adamawa and Yobe are believed to be under control of the Islamists. Boko Haram insurgency left over 10,000 people dead.
The group drew international outrage after kidnapping 276 schoolgirls from the Chibok village in April 2014 and subjecting them to physical, psychological and sexual abuse for refusing to convert to Islam.