MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Gunmen killed at least five villagers in a raid in northern Nigeria’s Borno state on Wednesday before being repelled by government troops, military sources said, an attack that bore the hallmarks of Islamist Boko Haram militants.
Boko Haram has killed thousands of people and displaced 1.5 million in a six-year-old insurgency to create an Islamic State in Nigeria’s northeast. But an army counter-offensive this year ousted Boko Haram from much of the territory it had taken and the jihadists have returned to a pattern of hit-and-run attacks.
A military source said gunshots rang out in the village of Mainari on Wednesday evening as suspected Boko Haram militants stormed the community. He said troops engaged in firefights with the insurgents lasting about an hour.
Five villagers were killed by militants and six were injured while fleeing the attack in Mainari, 20 km (12 miles) southeast of the state capital Maiduguri, according to two armed civilian volunteers who helped the military repulse the attackers.
On Monday evening, suspected Boko Haram gunmen on horseback killed at least 24 people in two separate village attacks in the northeast.
Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous country and leading energy producer.
Reporting by Lanre Ola; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Mark Heinrich