MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - At least 25 people were killed by suspected Boko Haram Islamist militants in raids on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning on three communities in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state, military and police sources said.
Fighters in pick-up trucks attacked the town of Dille and two smaller communities in the Askira/Uba area in Borno state about 250 km (160 miles) south of Maiduguri the capital of Borno state and the epicenter of the insurgency.
The raids were the latest in a string of attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants who, a Reuters tally showed, have killed more than 600 people since President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration on May 29.
Vigilantes resisted the attack on Dille that came around 1 p.m. local time, the sources said.
A police source who declined to be named said the attacks on the smaller nearby communities came early on Tuesday.
Boko Haram has been trying to carve out an Islamist state in the northeast of Nigeria for the last six years. It controlled large swathes of territory in three states last year before being pushed out of the major towns it controlled.
The insurgents have dispersed into pockets across Borno state, notably along the Niger border near Damasak, Lake Chad, the Sambisa forest reserve and around the Mandara mountain range that borders Cameroon.
The militants have undergone a resurgence since then, carrying out attacks across northern Nigeria and neighboring countries in the last few weeks.
Borno state governor Kashim Shettima said this month that seven local government areas out of 27 were “largely inaccessible because these lunatics called Boko Haram still move up and down the areas”.
The European Union said on Tuesday that about 800 people are reported to have been killed in the countries around Lake Chad. Nigeria and its neighbors are setting up new headquarters for their multi-national joint taskforce in Chad’s N’Djamena.
On Wednesday, Buhari will embark on a two-day visit to Cameroon, which has deployed an additional 2,000 soldiers to the area worst hit by militant attacks.
“Talks between President Buhari and his Cameroonian counterpart are expected to focus on the full activation and deployment of the Multinational Joint Task Force against Boko Haram,” said Femi Adesina, the Nigerian president’s spokesman.
He added that Buhari will also visit Benin on Saturday for talks with President Boni Yayi about the insurgents.
Additional reporting by Felix Onuah and Camillus Eboh in Abuja; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; editing by Ralph Boulton