At least 20 loggers have been killed in northeast Nigeria after Boko Haram Takfiri terrorists opened fire on them in the militants’ latest attack against civilians.
Residents and anti-Boko Haram militia said on Friday that gunmen on motorbikes opened fire on a group of loggers while they were collecting firewood at Kaje village, near the capital of Borno State, Maiduguri, on Monday.
“They (Boko Haram) killed 20 people in the attack. Fifteen others are missing and presumed kidnapped by the attackers,” said civilian militia leader Ibrahim Liman.
Details of the attack have been slow to emerge because of limited communications infrastructure after years of fighting in the remote region.
Shuaibu Sidi, a resident of Kaje, confirmed Liman’s account and said his brother was among the victims.
More than 20,000 people have been killed since Boko Haram started its deadly campaign in northeast Nigeria in 2009. The violence has claimed many lives in neighboring countries of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon as well.
Boko Haram has been largely pushed out of its main strongholds in northern Nigeria, according to the country’s military and government. The group, however, is still active in its Sambisa Forest enclave in Borno and launches sporadic attacks on civilians and security forces from there.
The United Nations has warned that areas affected by Boko Haram face a humanitarian crisis.
Liman said they believe that the perpetrators of the Monday’s attack are “the same gunmen” behind the murder of 25 loggers at Maiwa village, which is three kilometers (nearly two miles) from Kaje, back on December 30.
He noted that the assailants were believed to have come from the terrorist group’s main enclave in the Sambisa Forest area.
Loggers have been increasingly targeted by Boko Haram, which accuses them of spying for the military and the civilian militia, which assists troops with security.
At least 31 loggers have gone missing since January 2 and are believed to have been kidnapped near the town of Gamboru, on the border with Cameroon.