Boko Haram blamed for attacks in Nigeria

Group blamed for school abduction in north and bombing in capital

Between 100 and 200 teenage girls were reportedly abducted in an attack on a boarding school in Chibok in the north-eastern Nigerian state of Borno during the night of 14 April. Gunmen loaded the girls on to lorries and it was reported locally that two members of the security forces were killed in the attack and 170 houses burnt down.

All schools in Borno state had been closed since late March but the 16 to 18-year-old students of Government Girls Secondary School, about 130 km west of Maiduguri, were recalled to take their exams.

The attackers are believed to be the Islamist militia group, Boko Haram, which is based in the country's remote north-east region and whose aim is to carve out an Islamist state in northern Nigeria.

Earlier on 14 April Boko Haram was blamed for the bomb that killed more than 70 people in the capital Abuja, prompting fears that the militants' armed campaign has been extended southwards to central Nigeria. The attack on Nyanya Motor Park, a busy bus terminal on the outskirts of the capital, is the largest single assault on Abuja since the insurgents began their armed campaign in 2009.

In the five years since then the terrorists have been blamed for multiple gun and bomb attacks in villages, schools and churches, killing thousands. This year alone it has been held responsible for the deaths of more than 1,500 civilians, mainly in the north of Nigeria, a country divided between a mostly Muslim north and mostly Christian south.

The name Boko Haram translates as "Western education is forbidden" in the local Hausa language, and its militants frequently attack schools.