Three loggers have been found dead and at least 40 more feared abducted by Boko Haram fighters in northeastern Nigeria.
According to sources and residents who spoke to AFP news agency on Saturday, December 27; the loggers were rounded up by the fighters on Thursday in Wulgo forest near the town of Gamboru where they went to collect firewood.
“A group of more than 40 loggers left Shehuri on the outskirts of Gamboru on Thursday and never returned by evening as usual,” said a group leader Umar Kachalla, who was involved in the search.
“On Friday, we mobilised men and went deep into the forest where we recovered three bodies identified to be among the loggers, without a trace of their colleagues.”
The missing loggers were presumed kidnapped by the group; who are known to maintain camps in the forest, said Kachalla, a view widely shared by other residents.
The Boko Haram terrorists have increasingly targeted loggers and farmers in northeast Nigeria; accusing them of passing information to the military and local armed groups.
“We believe the men were taken by Boko Haram who have been attacking loggers in the forest,” said Shehu Mada, leader of another armed group.
“From all indications, the three dead loggers were shot when they tried to escape as they all were shot from behind.”
The area has been without telephone services for years following the destruction of masts in Boko Haram attacks; forcing residents to rely on Cameroon’s mobile phone networks.
Gamboru loggers have suffered repeated Boko Haram attacks and abductions; especially around Wulgo forest in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government on Monday, December 28, stated that the opening up of the economy; the re-opening of schools; and the lifting of restrictions on religious and social gatherings caused the spike in COVID-19 cases in the state.
This was disclosed by the Lagos Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi while giving an update on the state government’s response against the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic at a press briefing in Ikeja.
Abayomi blamed the upsurge in the cases on the false sense of security and non-adherence to safety guidelines by citizens.
He urged the people of Lagos State to make lifestyle adjustments by adhering to all non-pharmaceutical interventions; in order to live with the pandemic.
The lifestyle adjustment, according to him, includes adhering to all COVID-19 safety protocols; proper and regular use of face masks, following social distancing guidelines, and avoiding mass gatherings.