LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigeria has said it has intelligence that Boko Haram plans to carry out mass abduction of children, students or foreigners in a bid to “raise funds through ransom for food, medical and arms supply”.
“The planned abduction is in line with the terrorists’ new modus operandi of focusing on soft targets, having being routed from their stronghold and their capacity to stage spectacular attacks substantially degraded,” Nigeria’s Information Minister Lai Mohammed said in a statement on Friday.
Boko Haram grabbed international headlines in April 2014 after it abducted over 200 schoolgirls from their school dormitory in the town of Chibok of northeastern Borno state. Only 57 of the girls have been accounted for, with the terrorist group believed to still be holding onto the girls despite local and global outcries.
“The kidnap[ping] of the Chibok girls in 2014, which attracted global attention to the terrorist group, is what it is now trying to repeat, hoping it can find vulnerable targets, especially schools, or a group of foreigners outside the frontline states,” according to the minister.
He urged schools and other soft target areas to “upgrade their security arrangements” for the holiday to complement the efforts of the government.
“Smoked out of their hideouts and badly bruised by our gallant military, the Boko Haram terrorists are desperate, especially in the face of the depletion of their food supplies. In their desperation, they will not hesitate to embark on actions they feel can still make them relevant or enhance their survival. But the military is ready and able to prevent that,” the minister added.
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