Kano - Boko Haram gunmen have abducted 16 women in a remote area of Adamawa state, police, a lawmaker and locals said on Thursday.
"We received report of the kidnap of 14 women and two girls by gunmen believed to be Boko Haram insurgents near Sabon Garin Madagali village", said Adamawa state police spokesman Othman Abubakar.
"We have sent search teams to the area and have notified the military who have also deployed personnel for search and rescue operation in the bush to free the hostages."
Adamu Kamale, House of Representatives member, also confirmed the abduction, which happened on Wednesday.
Locals said the hostages were seized in the bush while fetching firewood and fishing in a nearby river under the escort of two civilian vigilantes assisting the military against the Islamist insurgents.
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"When the civilian vigilantes escorting the women saw the heavily armed Boko Haram fighters advancing on them they fled, leaving the women to their fate," said Madagali resident Garba Barnabas.
Two women who escaped by jumping into the river and pretending to have drowned later returned to the village to raise the alarm, he added.
"Since people returned to their homes we have been experiencing attacks by Boko Haram despite claims that security has been restored", said Kamale.
"The abduction shows that more security needs to be deployed to protect the people from attacks and abductions.
The development came just as Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video allegedly stating that his "end has come".
Although the video does not expressly confirm the claim, Shekau is also alleged to have called his followers to embrace peace, telling them to "surrender to save themselves."
Some analysts have since refuted the allegations.