Boko Haram killed four people and abducted four women from a village in northeast Nigeria, the military said on Wednesday, dismissing the Islamists as weakened and increasingly desperate.
Army spokesman Colonel Sani Usman told AFP the attack happened onTuesday morning in Kutuva, in the Damboa local government area of Borno state, which has been hardest hit by seven years of fighting.
“Boko Haram terrorists riding on six motorcycles attacked the village. They killed four residents and abducted four women,” he said.
“Residents of neighbouring Kaya village mobilised and pursued the terrorists. They traced them to Sabon Garin Baale but unfortunately they lost track of the gunmen.”
Such hit-and-run attacks were a regular feature of the Islamic State group affiliate’s tactics in the remote region but have become increasingly rare since the beginning of 2015.
Thousands of women have also been seized in the conflict, including more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok, which is some 70 kilometres (44 miles) away by road.
A military counter-insurgency has recaptured swathes of territory seized and controlled by the militants in 2014, pushing them out into border areas around Lake Chad.
The army has since April been mounting a push against Boko Haram’s stronghold in the Sambisa Forest area of Borno, which is near Damboa local government area.
Usman said soldiers and civilian militia had been deployed to the area of the kidnapping but it was unclear whether the gunmen were heading for the Sambisa Forest or elsewhere.
“They are doing their best to track them down and rescue the women,” he added.
“Boko Haram have been severely weakened. But they are trying to save face. That’s why they’re trying to launch attacks on soft targets.
“They’re now facing lots of challenges. Our troops are mounting pressure on them, which has cut off most of their supply routes.
“Just a few days ago 17 Boko Haram terrorists surrendered to the civilian JTF in the Damboa area. They were forced to surrender out of starvation.”