- (Photo: REUTERS)
Islamic terrorist organization Boko Haram reportedly kidnapped nearly 200 girls from a boarding school in northeastern Nigeria.
"They took away my daughter," said one woman from Chibok, who asked for anonymity due to the uncertain fate of the children, according to AFP.
"I don't know what to do," the mother added. "They should not allow our daughters' dreams to be shattered by these murderers."
CNN reported that as many as 200 girls were taken from Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok Monday night after heavily armed Boko Haram Islamists stormed the boarding school in trucks, vans and buses.
"The Boko Haram attackers came to town around 9 p.m. and made straight for the school where they had a gun battle with soldiers stationed at the school and killed two soldiers," said Chibok resident Maina Babagana.
A father, whose daughter was also taken in the raid, described the ordeal as a "nightmare," and said that the whole town of Chibok is in mourning.
One of the girls who managed to escape said that the attack appeared highly organized.
"They forced us into trucks, buses and vans, some of which were carrying food stuffs and petrol. They left with us in a convoy into the bush," the student said. "A group of motorcyclists flanked the convoy to ensure none of us escaped."
Senator Ali Ndume said local vigilante groups are aiding in the search for the girls, and are combing the region's vast forests to look for them.
"They are being aided by surveillance helicopters," he added.
Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans Executive Director Pastor Laolu Akande told The Christian Post in a phone interview Wednesday that while there have not been many reports on Boko Haram carrying out abductions, the kidnapping strategy is not something new.
"This is not a new strategy," Akande told CP.
"Boko Haram has been kidnapping little girls who are Christians, trying to turn them into sex slaves, trying to convert them by force. Their strategy is to marry the girls and kill the men. So what they have done by kidnapping these female students, it is another demonstration of the impunity with which Boko Haram has been running its terrorist activities."
He pointed to a specific incident in 2012, when a Nigerian Christian woman, Deborah Shettima from Borno state, witnessed Boko Haram gunmen storming into her home, killing her husband and kidnapping her young daughter. To this date, there is no information on what happened to the daughter.
"We are just totally, completely appalled that the Nigerian federal government continues to show itself totally incompetent to bring these people to justice and to halt these very pernicious, despicable activities," Akande said.
While there have been numerous reports on the extent to which the Nigerian army has been able to fight back against Boko Haram, the CANAN executive director insisted that the war is being lost – at a "faster rate than we thought."
He blamed political pressure on the federal government for the inability to cope with Boko Haram's attacks, which he said have become more viscous than they have ever been.
"The issue of terrorism is not one to play politics with," he added.
CANAN has called on the federal government to help the thousands of refugees fleeing Nigeria to escape the violence, as well as to provide better welfare packages and boost the morale of Nigerian soldiers on the frontlines.
He noted that the Nigerian army is capable of handling the threat of Boko Haram on its own, but still called for international support in the battle to bring the Islamic terrorists to justice.
Islamic extremists are also suspected to be behind the bus bombing on Monday in Abuja, where 71 people were killed and 123 were injured.
It was reportedly the deadliest attack ever recorded on Abuja, and a Roman Catholic priest noted that the victims were mostly poor, working class people.
Boko Haram has been trying to take down the Nigerian government and drive out Christians from the religiously-divided country over the past four to five years, killing thousands of people and carrying out attacks on government buildings, schools and churches.