Suspected militants linked with the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP); have killed five members of a vigilante group in an attack in Borno State. The incident, which occurred on Friday, was confirmed by sources among the vigilante group.
They disclosed that fighters from ISWAP attacked Gajiram town, 80 kilometres from the state capital Maiduguri, last Friday. The attackers were reported to be travelling in pickup trucks fitted with machine guns. Specifically, they targeted hunters and vigilantes who were guarding the town against attacks.
“We lost five men in the attack,” militia leader Babakura Kolo disclosed on Saturday.
The five men were buried in Maiduguri on Saturday.
Nganzai district, where Gajiram is located, has been repeatedly attacked by extremists in recent months, with troops and residents targeted.
Further, the number of ambushes against troops and civilian abductions at fake highway checkpoints by ISWAP; has increased in the past two months. Equally important, ISWAP split from the Boko Haram militant group in 2016.
Meanwhile, the spike in attacks followed the creation of “super camps” by the Nigerian military in the North East. This was in a bid to stave off repeated extremist raids. Subsequently, authorities in the state recruited hundreds of hunters and vigilantes to fill the void; left by the withdrawal of troops from small camps. However, they have been exposed to incessant attacks by the extremists.
Boko Haram has been involved in over a decade long offensive against the Nigerian government. The decade-long conflict has killed 36,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in northeast Nigeria.
Furthermore, the violence has spread to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon; prompting a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.
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