Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram has kidnapped at least 40 boys and young men from a village in the state of Borno following a major raid. The victims, believed to be aged from 10 to 23 years old, are likely to be trained to fight for the jihadists.
CNN reported on Sunday that Boko Haram attacked the village of Malari with assault rifles last week, preaching extreme Islamic ideology to the locals and taking 40 people hostage, before moving on to the Sambisa forest.
The militants, who have been waging war on the government and the Christian population for over five years now, are known for their violent attacks and mass kidnappings. In April, they seized over 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok, an incident which sparked international outrage.
The group has kidnapped children and young people on multiple occasions, The Associated Press noted, often forcing the girls into forced marriages and sexual slavery, while training the males to fight for its cause.
In August, another 97 young men and boys were believed to have been taken by Boko Haram near the village of Doron Baga, as part of an attack that left 28 residents dead.
News of the Malari kidnapping took days to circulate the media due to the deteriorating communications infrastructure in the region as a result of the continuous attacks.
Boko Haram achieved another notable victory on Saturday after it successfully captured a key military base in the town of Baga in north-eastern Nigeria. An unconfirmed number of residents were killed in the attack, and many fled to Chad across the border.
The Nigerian army has struggled to contain the deadly raids by the militants, and troops reportedly abandoned the military base after it was overrun. The soldiers based there represented the Multi-National Joint Task Force, made up of personnel from Nigeria, Chad and Niger.
BBC News noted that Baga was the last town in Borno's northern area that was under government control.
A local resident, who wasn't named, recalled the attack on the base:
"Yesterday at around 05:00 [04:00 GMT] we were woken up by heavy gunshots, and we couldn't identify where the shots were coming from," the resident said.
"They came through the north, the west and from the southern part of the town because the eastern part is only water. So, when we [went] towards the western part, we saw heavily armed Boko Haram men coming towards us."
The resident added that the locals had no choice but to flee the town after it was clear that the soldiers would not hold out against the terror group.
"The soldiers were trying to repel the attack but that wasn't going to happen because a lot of the soldiers were without their guns and some were running into the town. When you see soldiers running away into the town - what are you to do, other than to just run away as well?"