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Vigilante Villagers Ambush Boko Haram Militants, Kill Scores

The villagers knew an attack was coming, so they used the dark of night to ambush the suspected Boko Haram militants, killing scores and arresting at least 10 in a move to deter the extremists and make future attacks "impossible."

In Kalabalge, a village about 250 kilometers (155 miles) from the Borno state capital of Maiduguri, where the terrorist network was born, residents said they took matters into their own hands.

On Tuesday morning, after learning about an impending attack by the militants, villagers ambushed two trucks with gunmen, residents and a security official told The Associated Press. At least 10 militants were detained, and scores were killed, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to give interviews to journalists. It was not immediately clear where the detainees were being held.

Kalabalge trader Ajid Musa said that after residents organized the vigilante group, "it is impossible" for militants to successfully stage attacks there."That is why most attacks by the Boko Haram on our village continued (to) fail because they cannot come in here and start shooting and killing people," he said. Earlier this year in other parts of Borno, extremists launched more attacks in what some feared was retaliation over the vigilante groups.

Borno is where more than 300 girls were abducted last month and one of three Nigerian states where President Goodluck Jonathan has imposed a state of emergency, giving the military special powers to fight the Islamic extremist group, whose stronghold is in northeast Nigeria.

Britain and the U.S. are now actively involved in the effort to rescue the missing girls. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said FBI agents and a hostage negotiating team are in Nigeria now, providing technology and other materials and working with "our Nigerian counterparts to be as helpful as we possibly can." U.S. reconnaissance aircraft are flying over Nigeria in search of the missing girls.

The group kidnapped the girls on April 15 from a school in Chibok. At least 276 of them are still held captive, with the group's leader threatening to sell them into slavery.

The Pentagon said Wednesday the U.S. is using surveillance drones to aid in the search for the kidnapped Nigerian girls, and almost 300 Marines have been moved to a naval air station in Sicily in response to the growing unrest in Africa.

- The Associated Press