Nigerian security forces are investigating a possible mass kidnapping of villagers in the northeast state of Borno where Boko Haram Islamist militants abducted more than 200 schoolgirls two months ago, a security source said on Tuesday.
Military officials are looking into reports that suspected militant Islamists raided three villages over the weekend 100 km (62 miles) from the state capital Maiduguri, the source added.
Nigerian media reported on Tuesday that as many as 91 villagers had been abducted, most of them women and young girls. Reuters was unable to verify these accounts independently.
If confirmed, the latest abduction will fuel public frustration over the authorities’ inability to contain Boko Haram’s five-year campaign to carve out an Islamist state in the mainly Muslim north.
The movement, which has killed thousands in regular bomb and gun attacks, initially focused on government and security targets, churches and Muslim leaders that rejected its brand of Islam.
It has recently increasingly attacked civilians and triggered an international outcry when it kidnapped more than 200 girls from a school in the remote Borno village of Chibok in April.