There are worries that about 40 workers contracted by Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and some members of the Civilian JTF and local hunters may have been killed or abducted by Boko Haram.
The group was in the Lake Chad Basin as part of exploration efforts for oil.
The group comprised 10 academic and technical staff of the University of Maiduguri’s (UNIMAID) Department of Geology, some security operatives and members of the Civilian JTF.
They were said to have been ambushed by members of the terror sect around Jibi village which is situated between Magumeri and Gubio Local Government Areas of Borno State.
NNPC spokesman Ndu Ughamadu, while confirming the attack, said the men who were working as consultants were kidnapped near Jibi village in Borno state on Tuesday afternoon. The village is in Magumeri local government area, about 50 km (30 miles) from the state capital, Maiduguri.
“About 10 members of the University of Maiduguri geology and surveying department were abducted by suspected Boko Haram members”, he said, adding that the group included academic staff, drivers and other contractors.
The university’s spokesperson also confirmed the incident, saying some of its lecturers, who were accompanied by security staff, had not returned on Tuesday from a prospecting trip. The official confirmation added that the university was awaiting report from security agencies.
This attack is coming after an upsurge in suicide bombings recently, in what security experts believe to be a redesigned strategy of the sect to prioritize attacks on “soft targets”.
The search for oil in the Lake Chad Basin followed renewed commitment by the Buhari administration to resume what had been a fruitless 20-year search for oil the region.
The optimism that fueled the authorization of the resumed search might not be unconnected with oil discovery by neighbouring Niger and Chad Republics, which border Lake Chad.