Boko Haram claim responsibility for kidnap of over 300 schoolboys
A man identifying himself as the leader of Nigeria’s Boko Haram said on Tuesday the Islamist group was behind the abduction of more than 300 schoolboys, as anxious parents begged the government to secure their release.
Pupils who escaped kidnap on Friday, by jumping over the fence of the Government Science secondary school in Katsina state in northwestern Nigeria and fleeing through a forest, said the attackers were armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rounded up their victims before marching them off.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden” in the local Hausa language, has waged an insurgency in the northeast of Nigeria since 2009 but has not previously claimed attacks in the northwest.
The claims in the audio tape, if true, could mark a widening influence of jihadist groups operating in northeastern Nigeria, political analysts said.
They could also signal that jihadists have formed alliances with militant groups operating in the Sahel, which could further destabilise the impoverished north of Africa’s most populous nation which plays a pivotal role in regional stability.
More than 30,000 people have been killed since Boko Haram began its insurgency, aimed at creating an Islamic state.