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Nigeria, December 20, 2014

Boko Haram executes more than 50 elderly people

Original source

I24 news

Militants with Nigeria's radical jihadist group Boko Haram have killed more than 50 elderly people from several villages in the Gwoza area in the country. Residents who were too old to flee the area recently dominated by Boko Haram were gathered and taken to two schools, where they were executed by firing squad.

"What they are doing now is to assemble the aged people – both men and women... and then they just open fire on some of them," Muhammed Gava, a spokesman for civil defense groups in the area was quoted by Associated Press as saying. This new tactic by the Islamists, which have long plagued and horrified the region, reportedly instilled even more fear in the local residents.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph reported that up 100 British soldiers will train the Nigerian army to help its fight against Boko Haram. They may also provide technical assistance.

British specialists already began a training mission in Nigeria in the summer, when 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped by the rebels, and three RAF Tornados - multi-role strike airplanes - assisted in the search.

The Nigerian army, which is fighting a complicated battle against the Islamists, is said to be poorly run and corrupt. The new mission is expected to assist the government of President Goodluck Johnatan.

Boko Haram kidnap at least 185 in Gumsuri

Last week it was reported that Boko Haram has kidnapped at least 185 people, including women and children, from a Nigerian village, carting the hostages away on trucks towards Sambisa Forest, a notorious rebel stronghold, two local officials and a vigilante leader said Thursday.

The mass abduction, part of an attack that also killed 32 people, occurred Sunday in the village Gumsuri, in the embattled Borno state – about 130 kilometers northwest of Gwoza.

Both officials, who requested anonymity, said the local government established the number of those abducted through contacting families, ward heads and emirs.

A vigilante leader based in the Borno state capital Maiduguri, Usman Kakani, told AFP that fighters who were in Gumsuri during the attack provided a figure of 191 abducted, including women, girls and boys.

Gumsuri is roughly 70 kilometers south of Maiduguri and falls on the road that leads to Chibok, where Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in April.

Details of the Gumsuri attack took four days to emerge because the mobile phone network in the region has completely collapsed and many roads are impassable.

Those who fled the village said it was too dangerous to head directly to Maiduguri. Instead, they travelled several hundred kilometres in the opposite direction to connect with the main road that leads to the state capital.

Mukhtar Buba, a Gumsuri resident who fled to Maiduguri, also confirmed that women and children were taken. "After killing our youths, the insurgents have taken away our wives and daughters," he said.

Boko Haram has increasingly used kidnappings to boost its supply of child fighters, porters and young women who have reportedly been used as sex slaves.

The mass abductions in Chibok brought unprecedented attention to Boko Haram's five-year extremist uprising, and President Goodluck Jonathan vowed to end the conflict.

But violence has escalated since April and the Gumsuri attack no doubt cast further doubt on Nigeria's ability to contain the crisis.