NIAMEY, Niger — A regional deputy official in Niger says that 18 girls have been kidnapped from two different villages by suspected Boko Haram militants.
Lamido Harouna Moumouni said 24 attackers abducted 15 girls in the village of Blaharde early Saturday and three other girls in the village of Bague. This is not far from where suspected extremists killed at least seven people at a French drilling company's site Wednesday, and near Nigeria's border.
Moumouni asked the government do "everything possible to secure this population, including through dialogue with Boko Haram," saying people will leave.
Two years ago, about 39 women were kidnapped in Ngalewa in the same region.
Nigeria-based Boko Haram has killed and kidnapped thousands of people in its nine-year insurgency, crossing into Niger, Chad and Cameroon.