, KANO, May 7- The number of Nigerian girls taken in the latest kidnapping by Boko Haram Islamists has risen to 11, an official in the restive northeast said Wednesday.
Residents initially said eight girls were taken when gunmen stormed a village in the Gwoza area of Borno state late Sunday.
Gwoza official Hamba Tada told AFP the attackers snatched three more girls in a neighbouring village.
“After leaving Warabe the gunmen stormed the Wala village, which is five kilometres (three miles) away and abducted three more girls,” he told AFP, referring to the two villages.
Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau said his extremists group abducted 276 girls from the nearby town of Chibok on April 14 and has threatened to “sell them in the market.”
Borno state is the epicentre of Boko Haram’s five year Islamist uprising and the Gwoza area has been attacked repeatedly in the past.
Tada and witnesses said the latest unrest in the area was unusual as the insurgents did not kill or injure any of the village’s residents, suggesting that abducting girls was the motivation for the attack.
Speaking to US broadcaster ABC on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama described the Chibok abductions as “a heartbreaking situation”. Washington has deployed military experts to help hunt for the group.