Byline: Adam Nossiter
ABUJA, Nigeria -- The pattern is becoming all too familiar to residents of Nigeria's embattled northeast: Gunmen believed to be members of the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram descend on a village, burn houses, round up scores of young people, load them onto trucks and then drive away.
Four months after Boko Haram shocked the world by abducting nearly 300 girls from a rural school, fighters shouting "God is great'' snatched dozens more young people from another village in recent days, according to officials, local journalists and Nigerian media.
This time, the target was boys and young men, who were waved into trucks at gunpoint, prompting fears that they would be hauled off and forced to fight for the militants in their ongooing war against the Nigerian state.
Sen. Ahmed Zannah of Borno state, which has been battered by the Islamist insurgency for years, confirmed the latest abductions but said that Chadian soldiers had since freed the kidnap victims. The group had been taken to an island in Lake Chad, he said, where the soldiers rescued them. His account could not be independently verified.
The kidnapped schoolgirls, by contrast, seem no closer to being rescued, according to diplomats, advocates, and parents and relatives of the girls.
The substantial international mobilization on their behalf...