Boko Haram militants have killed eight loggers near the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, vigilantes and residents told AFP on Sunday.
The militant gunmen on Saturday stopped nine loggers in a pickup truck near Kayamla village, 10 kilometres from the city, murdering eight while one managed to escape.
“The gunmen stopped the van and rounded up the men. They slaughtered eight of them and burnt their bodies,” vigilante Babakura Kolo told AFP.
The man who managed to escape informed residents of nearby Molai village who later recovered the bodies of the slain men for burial, he added.
Kolo’s account was backed up by Mohammed Abubakar, whose neighbour was among the victims.
“We buried my neighbour late on Saturday. He was among the eight killed by Boko Haram on their way to fetch firewood in the bush,” Abubakar told AFP.
“They cut his throat and burnt his body”, he said
Boko Haram’s eight-year insurrection in northeast Nigeria, especially in Borno state, has left over 20,000 people dead and displaced 2.6 million.
Most of those displaced rely on food handouts from aid agencies while others have turned to felling trees from the scanty vegetation in the savanna region for firewood, which they sell to buy food.
Abubakar said the loggers had been warned by locals of the presence of the militants in the area.
“They ignored the warning because they were desperately looking for ways to feed their family and collecting firewood was the only option they had”.
On Friday Boko Haram militants kidnapped 13 women near the village of Hambagda near the border with Cameroon, residents told AFP.
Those abducted were among a group of 25 women who had gone to pick acacia fruit.
“They came across two women, who were also out to collect the fruits but who turned out to be Boko Haram wives,” a local leader in the area told AFP.
“The two women left and informed their men who came and surrounded the women,” he added.
Late last month Boko Haram fighters loyal to the Islamic State-backed Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi faction abducted 18 girls from nearby Pulka village, according to residents.
On Friday, according to an army officer in Maiduguri, Boko Haram fighters killed five soldiers after ambushing them while on patrol in Mafa, Borno.
It was the second such ambush in two days. On Thursday four soldiers were killed and five others injured in a Boko Haram ambush near Gulumba village.
Four troops remain missing after that attack.