Nigeria: Boko Haram planning mass kidnapping

Abuja - Nigerian officials warned on Friday that Boko Haram jihadists were planning a Chibok-style mass abduction of students in the weeks before President Muhammadu Buhari's deadline to eradicate the group expires.

Warning that foreigners are also at risk, the country's minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, said Boko Haram was planning to stage a similar attack to the 2014 kidnapping of 276 girls from the northeastern town of Chibok.

"The kidnap of the Chibok girls in 2014, which attracted global attention to the terrorist group, is what it is now trying to repeat," said Mohammed in a statement, urging schools to "upgrade security".

Buhari has vowed to stamp out the bloody Boko Haram insurgency that has claimed tens of thousands of lives by the end of the year.

As the jihadist group is squeezed out of key territory, it has relied increasingly on deadly bomb attacks to wage war for a hardline Islamist state.

But while Boko Haram's capacity to attack has been reduced, sporadic deadly raids still plague towns and villages in the northeast of Nigeria, as well as in northern Cameroon, southeastern Niger and on the Chadian side of Lake Chad, where all four countries meet.

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