Kid­napped oil work­ers in Boko Haram video

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Boko Haram Is­lamists have pub­lished a video show­ing three kid­napped mem­bers of an oil ex­plo­ration team, af­ter an am­bush in north­east Nige­ria ear­lier this week that killed at least 50. In the four-minute video, the trio iden­tify them­selves as be­ing from the Univer­sity of Maiduguri and call on the govern­ment to meet the ji­hadists’ de­mands in ex­change for their safe re­turn.

The men were part of a Nige­rian Na­tional Pe­tro­leum Cor­po­ra­tion (NNPC) team on a mis­sion to find com­mer­cial quan­ti­ties of oil in the Lake Chad basin when they came un­der at­tack on Tues­day. “I want to call on the act­ing pres­i­dent pro­fes­sor Yemi Os­in­bajo to come to our res­cue to meet the de­mand,” one of the men says in the video, which he said was shot on Fri­day. He at­trib­uted the at­tack to the Is­lamic State-sup­ported Boko Haram fac­tion headed by Abu Mus’ab Al-Bar­nawi, which has promised to hit mil­i­tary and govern­ment tar­gets.

“They have promised us that if their de­mands are met they will re­lease us im­me­di­ately to go back to the work we were caught do­ing,” the man added. There was no in­di­ca­tion of where the video was shot but the con­voy came un­der at­tack near Magumeri, some 50 kilo­me­tres (31 miles) by road north­west of Maiduguri.

Most of the vic­tims were sol­diers and civil­ian mili­tia mem­bers pro­vid­ing se­cu­rity. Five mem­bers of staff from the univer­sity-two lec­tur­ers, two tech­nol­o­gists and a driver-were also killed, vice-chan­cel­lor Ibrahim Njodi said on Fri­day. Univer­sity of Maiduguri spokesman Dan­juma Gambo con­firmed the iden­ti­ties of the three kid­napped men in the video. “They are our staff but one more is yet to be ac­counted for,” he told AFP.

No fear

Ex­perts said the at­tack-Boko Haram’s blood­i­est this year-un­der­scored the per­sis­tent threat posed by the ji­hadists, de­spite govern­ment claims the group is a spent force. “It’s a con­fir­ma­tion of the bold­ness and re­as­sur­ance that Boko Haram has man­aged to gain over the last six weeks,” Yan St-Pierre, from the Mod­ern Se­cu­rity Con­sult­ing Group in Ber­lin, told AFP. “They have been at­tack­ing more and more mil­i­tary out­posts and more mil­i­tary con­voys. For them to go af­ter NNPC per­son­nel just shows they don’t fear any mil­i­tary reprisal. — AFP

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