Five killed by 'jihadists' in northeast Nigeria

AFP . Kano, Nigeria | Update:

In this file photograph taken on 1 November, 1967, Nigerian federal troops man the Nine-mile Corner checkpoint in Enugu, former capital of the short-lived nation of the Republic of Biafra, after it was captured by Nigerian troops on 28 September, 1967. Photo: AFPFive members of a militia in an offensive were killed by alleged jihadists linked with the Islamic State militant group killed in Nigeria's northeastern Borno state, militia sources told AFP.

Fighters from Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) -- travelling in pickup trucks fitted with machine guns -- attacked Gajiram town, 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the state capital Maiduguri, on Friday.

They targeted hunters and vigilantes who were guarding the town against attacks, resident Mele Butari said.

"We lost five men in the attack," militia leader Babakura Kolo said on Saturday.

The five men were buried in Maiduguri on Saturday, another militia member Ibrahim Liman said.

Nganzai district, where Gajiram is located, has been repeatedly attacked by jihadists in recent months, with troops and residents targeted.

In the past two months, the number of ambushes against troops and civilian abductions at fake highway checkpoints by ISWAP -- which split from the Boko Haram militant group in 2016 -- has increased.

The spike in attacks followed the creation of "super camps" by the Nigerian military in the northeast to stave off repeated jihadist raids.

Authorities in the state recruited hundreds of hunters and vigilantes to fill the void left by the withdrawal of troops from small camps, but they have been exposed to incessant jihadist attacks.

The decade-long conflict has killed 36,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in northeast Nigeria.

The violence has spread to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.

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