ABUJA – Dozens of women and girls from two villages in Nigeria’s north-eastern Adamawa state have been abducted by suspected militants, residents say.
The abductions have not been confirmed by the authorities, but residents say they took place a day after the military announced it had agreed a ceasefire with the Boko Haram group.
The government hopes the Islamist group will free more than 200 girls seized in April as part of negotiations.
Boko Haram has not confirmed the truce.
Following tomorrow’s ceasefire announcement, the government said further talks with Boko Haram were due to be held this week in neighbouring Chad.
In a separate incident, at least five people were killed in a bomb blast at a bus station in a town in the northern state of Bauchi.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
News of the new abductions came as MPs approved a $1bn (£623m) loan – requested by the president in July – to upgrade military equipment and train more units fighting the north-eastern insurgency.
But they asked the finance minister to give the chamber more details about how the external borrowing would be sourced.
Security already costs the country close to $6bn, roughly a quarter of the federal budget.
The abduction of the schoolgirls from their boarding school in Borno state sparked a global campaign to pressure the government to secure their release.
Borno is the group’s stronghold. It has been under a state of emergency, along with neighbouring Adamawa and Yobe states, for more than a year.
The villages that were attacked on Saturday – Waga Mangoro and Garta – are close to Madagali and Michika towns, which have been under the control of the Islamist militant group for several weeks.
According to people in the area, a large group of insurgents attacked the villages, rounding up women and girls.
They forced them to harvest groundnuts on a farm, then abducted those who were teenagers or in their early 20s.
Communication with the affected area is difficult, which is why it takes time for news of attacks to filter out.
Other raids by suspected Boko Haram fighters were reported by residents in Adamawa and Borno over the weekend.
Since the state of emergency was declared in May 2013, Boko Haram has taken many women and children hostage and has agreed to some prisoner swaps.
The name Boko Haram translates as “Western education is forbidden”, and the militants have carried out raids on schools and colleges, seeing them as a symbol of Western culture.