Islamic radicals from the Boko Haram terror group in Nigeria have attacked and burned the villages of Kuburumbula and Boftari in the Chibok area, killing at least two Christians.
The terrorists burned down homes and vandalized shops and a local market in the same area where 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped in 2014. The government is denying that anyone was killed.
"For the second week in a row, we are mourning the loss of Christians in Nigeria who were murdered by Boko Haram militants. This string of attacks has us deeply concerned for the safety of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Chibok area of Nigeria's northeast," International Christian Concern's Regional Manager, William Stark, said in a statement.
Stark noted that Boko Haram's new leadership under Abu Musab al-Barnawi has vowed to increase its attacks on Christians in recent weeks, which has sparked new worry among the Christian community.
"They are living in fear," he said of the Christians.
"ICC applauds the Nigerian government for its persistence in fighting Boko Haram, but urges greater protection for the most vulnerable populations, especially Christians living in Nigeria's northeast."
The Nigeria Army confirmed the attack in the Chibok area earlier this week, according to Premium Times.
Sani Usman, a spokesperson for the army, said that a manhunt is underway for the radicals.
"Troops were eventually dispatched to the area with clear orders to pursue and deal with the terrorists. They are still exploiting," Usman said.
"The troops encountered Boko Haram terrorists ambush site shortly before Kuburmbula village. They quickly cleared the ambush and proceeded to Boftari.
"Unfortunately, the terrorists had set some houses on fire and fled. The troops put out the fire and are currently on the hunt for the terrorists," he added.
Usman insisted that despite media reports, "no life was lost," and the terrorists have been driven out.
ICC said in its report, however, that locals saw a Christian man in Boftari who was tied up with a rope and slaughtered in front of his wife and children by the jihadists, while another Christian man was killed in the fighting in Kuburumbula.
The villages have suffered greatly at the hands of Boko Haram. Approximately 47 of the Chibok girls that the militants kidnapped in 2014 came from Kuburumbula.
The vast majority of the schoolgirls remain unaccounted for despite the government's efforts to find and rescue them. A new video of the hostages was released back in August, with the girls pleading with their parents to convince the government to negotiate with Boko Haram for their release.
The parents of the girls have refused to give up hope that they will see them alive again, but have also lamented the fate of their children.
"The fact is we are overwhelmed with a feeling of depression. It's like being beaten and being stopped from crying. You helplessly watch your daughter but there is nothing you can do. It's a real heartache. Those who are still alive — we want them back. We want them back irrespective of their condition," Samuel Yaga, the father of one of the abducted schoolgirls, told BBC Hausa at the time.
"As ordinary men, there is nothing we [the other fathers and I] can do on our own. We are just here unable to do anything with our lives. You see your child but someone denies you from having it. They are being forcefully married and they now live in terrible conditions," he added.