Hundreds Taken Hostage by Jihadists in Raid in North East Nigeria

21 August 2020

On Tuesday night, Kukawa town in Borno State was raided by 20 trucks of jihadist militants and hundreds of people are reported to have been taken hostage. Many had only recently returned from refugee camps, with 1,200 returning to Kukawa in early August from camps near the state capital Maiduguri. Local government officials had repeatedly stressed the town was safe and victims had returned hopeful of restarting their lives. Those who were returning were doing so on the orders of local government authorities and were taken by military convoy.

Nigeria’s army and government have not released details of casualties or released details of the attack thought to have been carried out by militants from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), an offshoot of Boko Haram, which has waged an insurgency in north-east Nigeria since 2009.

This latest tragedy comes despite Nigerian authorities repeatedly claiming to have defeated Jihadist groups. HART and multiple other aid agencies have expressed concerns that much of the region continues to be dangerous and unsafe and peace remains a long way off.

Last week, the UN revealed the state of the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria was worsening. 10.6 million people of the 13 million living in the north-east would need humanitarian assistance this year, up from about 8 million people in January. 1.8 million people remain displaced by jihadist conflict.

This news comes just a couple of months after The All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, of which Baroness Cox is Co-Chair, published the report, Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide? The report concluded that a key factor driving this violence is the impact of the growing power and influence of Islamist extremism across the Sahel, which drives some militant Fulani herders to target Christians and symbols of Christian identity such as churches.

The full report is available here:

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