A Nigerian policeman has been kidnapped in the country’s northeast state, Islamic State West Africa Province claimed on Monday.
The Islamic State-backed insurgent group said on its Amaq news agency that thepoliceman was captured in Babban Gida, Yobe State on Saturday.
A van he was travelling in was also seized by the group.
It is likely that the policeman was captured after the insurgents attacked Babban Gida and burned a section of the Emir of Jajare’s palace.
An eyewitness said the insurgents headed straight for the emir’s palace upon entering the town but the Emir had left the palace before their arrival.
Apart from setting the palace on fire, the hoodlums also went away with a Hilux van belonging to the Emir.
In the set of pictures seen by The Guardian, the policeman, was wearing a Nigeria Police Force uniform and stood beside a white Toyota Hilux van.
The van doesn’t bear any identification of the Nigerian police. The number plate was not visible in the pictures.
The file information on one of the photos shows it was taken at 6:43 pm on October 7. Others were taken the same day and about the same time.
Babban Gida, the headquarters of Tarmuwa Local Government Area of Yobe State, lies 50 kilometres from the state capital Damaturu. The town has been repeatedly targeted by Boko Haram extremists.
The Nigerian police authorities are yet to react to the abduction. The Guardian reached out to the police spokesman Frank Mba but claimed ignorance of the incident.
He requested for pictures to be sent to him via WhatsApp. He is yet to reply to the messages to since Monday despite receiving the pictures which clearly showed the face of the policeman.
The spokesman for Yobe State police command, however, said he was aware a policeman was missing since the attack on Baban Gida.
“All I know is that his whereabouts is not confirmed,” said Abdulmalik Abdulhafeez, an assistant superintendent of police on Wednesday. “We don’t know where he is.”
Abdulhafeez said he did not have much information to offer to The Guardian because he was in Anambra for a conference. He promised to “dig around” and provide more information when it is available.
He, however, said the policeman may be among “some people” that were displaced after the attack.
A resident of the community claimed that the insurgents were on a mission to eliminate the District Head in a revenge mission for earlier giving intelligence report to security agencies that led to the elimination of some Boko Haram members.
Reports said a woman was killed and another person injured in that attack,
The decade-long Boko Haram campaign has killed over 30,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in northeast Nigeria.
The violence has spread to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.