Boko Haram militants have mounted an assault on the Christian-majority town of Chibok — the same Borno State town where, in 2014, some 276 schoolgirls were abducted while attending school.
The attack took place on Saturday, after locals heard gunfire in the distance. Thinking it was the military patrolling the area, residents initially stayed put. But when the gunfire continued to edge closer, locals quickly realized that they were under threat and fled immediately.
According to International Christian Concern, villagers remain in hiding since the attack, fearful of additional attacks should they return home. The Nigerian military has supposedly launched an offensive on Boko Haram militants in order to force them out the area.
While many of those captured in 2014 have since escaped, some 112 remain missing.
This past weekend, the Nigerian government announced that Christian schoolgirl Leah Sharibu, who was part of a group of schoolgirls kidnapped in Dapchi last year, is still alive. Sharibu is the only remaining schoolgirl still being held captive and was reportedly held back because she refused to renounce her Christian faith and declare herself a Muslim.
Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, told Morning Star News that the government is confident Sharibu is alive and said Buhari’s administration “is carrying forward processes that should hopefully yield her release by her captors.”
Chibok is just 170 miles from Dapchi.
“This attack shows that the organization is indeed regaining power and territory as the Nigerian government and military are proving incapable of stopping them,” ICC explained. “Chibok has a large Christian population and continues to mourn for the more tthan 100 girls that were kidnapped more than 5 years ago.”
Speaking to Faithwire, ICC’s regional manager, Nathan Johnson said that “the details about this attack are not yet clear, as the village is not safe to return to yet.”
“This makes it hard to find out exactly what took place, and if there have been people killed or abducted,” he added. “However, this village is very close to Chibok, the town where 276 girls were abducted years ago. This shows that Boko Haram again has the power and capability to affect areas that it held in 2014, at the height of its power.”
“They have slowly regained power over the past year and a half. ISWAP, the newer of the two different factions, seems to have the ability to conduct these coordinated and large-scale attacks. I believe it is this sect that is currently holding the town of Yimirmigza. We are currently trying to get more information from our contacts in Chibok as we have worked directly with many of the families affected by Boko Haram in that area.”