Five killed by militants in northeast Nigeria

KANO (Nigeria)� Militants linked with the Daesh group killed five members of a militia in an offensive in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state.

Fighters from Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) � travelling in

pickup trucks fitted with machine guns � attacked Gajiram town, 80

kilometres 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.

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 militants 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 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 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.