Extremists kill nine in Nigeria attacks

Published: Updated:

Nine people, including a soldier and a policeman, were killed in two separate attacks by extremists in restive northeast Nigeria, officials and vigilantes said on Saturday.

Militants from ISIS West Africa Province (ISWAP) organization attacked Nigerian and Chadian troops in the town of Gajiram late Friday, prompting a fierce battle in which eight people were killed.

“We lost eight people in the attack including a policeman, a local hunter and six residents,” local district official Shettima Maina told AFP.

The militants in several pickup trucks fitted with machine guns attacked the town, 80 kilometres (50 miles) from regional capital Maiduguri, and engaged Nigerian and Chadian troops assisted by local hunters in battle, Maina said.

The extremists lost a truck when it was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during the fight, killing all fighters on board, said Maigana Maidurama, the head of Borno state hunters union.

“We dealt them a heavy blow and forced them to flee as one of their vehicles along with all those on board was destroyed by our RPG,” Maidurama said.

ISWAP is a splinter faction that broke away from Boko Haram in 2016.

In a separate attack Friday evening suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked a military post in the town of Banki on the border with Cameroon, killing a soldier and destroying a military vehicle, military and militia sources said.

Gajiram and Banki have been repeatedly attacked by the extremists in the past year.

The decade-long insurgency in northeast Nigeria has killed 35,000 people and displaced some two million people.

Regional countries have joined together to fight the extremists as the violence has spread across borders.