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Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) – Suspected Boko Haram Islamists have kidnapped eight more girls from Nigeria’s embattled northeast, residents said on Tuesday, after the extremist group’s leader claimed responsibility for abducting more than 200 schoolgirls last month.

“They moved door to door looking for girls,” said Abdullahi Sani, referring to the late Sunday attack in the village of Warabe, Borno state. “They forcefully took away eight girls between the ages of 12 and 15.”

Sani, a Warabe resident, spoke to AFP by phone from Gwoza, a town six miles away where he and others fled after the attack, which he blamed on Boko Haram.

He said the attackers did not kill anyone, which was “surprising,” and suggested that abducting girls was the motive for the attack.

The gunmen torched parts of the village, he said.

Another Warabe resident who also fled to Gwoza, Peter Gambo, confirmed Sani’s account of the attack and said the military had not yet provided any protection.

“We in Gwoza are also living in fear because of the kidnap of eight girls in Warabe,” he told AFP. “We have no security here. If the gunmen decide to pick our own girls nobody can stop them.”

Police in Borno did not respond to calls or text messages seeking comment, and state government spokesman Isa Gusau told AFP he was not aware of the attack.

The targeted area is 100 miles from Borno’s state capital of Maiduguri, where Boko Haram was founded more than a decade ago.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said his fighters carried out the April 14 abduction of more than 200 girls from Chibok, also in Borno, and threatened to sell them as slaves in a video obtained by AFP on Monday.

AFP Photo/Pius Utomi Ekpei

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