Dozens of Nigerian women abducted by suspected militants, residents say

Dozens of women and girls from two villages in Nigeria’s remote northeastern Adamawa state were abducted by suspected Islamic militants, residents said Thursday.

People in the region told the BBC that the abductions occurred on Saturday, a day after the military announced a cease-fire with the Al Qaeda-linked Boko Haram group. The kidnappings, however, were not yet confirmed by authorities.

The villages that were reportedly attacked -- Waga Mangoro and Garta – lie close to the Borno region, which is the group’s stronghold.

Residents of the villages said they were attacked by a large group of insurgents, who rounded up women and girls and forced them to harvest groundnuts from a farm before abducting those who were teenagers or in their early 20s, the BBC reports.

Despite the cease-fire announced by the military on Friday, Boko Haram has yet to confirm the truce and has continued to attack villages in Nigeria.

People who escaped this week from Bama, a town in a part of northeastern Nigeria where Boko Haram has declared an Islamic caliphate, say hundreds of residents are being detained for allegedly breaking the group's strict version of Shariah law.

Residents who got out of Bama said so many people have been detained by Boko Haram that the local jail is overcrowded and houses are being used as makeshift prisons. Many young men have been forced to join Boko Haram, and those who refuse are killed, said those who ran away.

People are jailed after brief "trials" for infringements like smoking cigarettes, said Amina Bukar, a middle-aged woman who said she hiked through the bush for five days before reaching Maiduguri, the Borno state capital nearly 50 miles away.

Food is running short since shops have been looted by Boko Haram, said Bukar. "Water also is very scarce, sometimes you line up [at the communal tap] for 24 hours," she said.

The fate of the 219 schoolgirls held hostage by Boko Haram for six months is still unknown.

Officials had said talks would resume in neighboring Chad this week, but there was no confirmation that those negotiations had resumed by Wednesday.

Relatives of the girls abducted from a boarding school in the northeastern Chibok town said they are confused but trying to be hopeful.

"Things are still sketchy with lots of holes and varying statements," Allen Manasseh, a brother of one of the missing schoolgirls, told The Associated Press by telephone. Manasseh said he relentlessly scours the news headlines to find out when his sister, Maryam, may return home.

Nigeria's Foreign Minister Aminu Wali on Tuesday said "I can say with some optimism, cautious optimism, that were are moving toward a situation where we'd be able to, in the very near future, to be able to get back our girls."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.