More than 100 women and children were unaccounted for after gunmen stormed a northeastern Nigerian village in a deadly raid Sunday, a Nigerian military source told NBC News on Thursday. No group took responsibility for the attack in Gumsuri, but it bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, which abducted more than 200 girls in April from a secondary school in nearby Chibok.
A military source told NBC News that the Boko Haram militants remain the prime suspects; exact numbers of the missing and dead are unclear. Reuters reported more than 100 women and children were kidnapped, but many may have fled into the bushes, a freelance journalist told NBC News. Thirty-five were killed in the raid, Reuters reported. Those numbers were not immediately verified by Human Rights Watch, which is tracking kidnapping cases in the country.
Thousands of people have been killed and many hundreds abducted in Nigeria, raising questions about the ability of security forces to protect civilians, especially around the north Cameroon border where the militants are well established. The abductions have gained in frequency this year. A man who says he is Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau last month rejected comments by the government that the group was in talks to free the Chibok girls, saying he had in fact "married them off" to commanders, according to an online video.
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