Africa

Jihadists Kill Seven Villagers in Northeast Nigeria

Jihadists attacked a village in northeast Nigeria, killing seven people and looting supplies, shortly after UN chief Antonio Guterres arrived in the troubled region for a visit, local sources said Wednesday.

Fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), arriving on motorbikes and in trucks fitted with machine guns, stormed Kautikeri village near the town of Chibok at around 1630 GMT on Tuesday, they said.

They opened fire on residents and then looted and torched shops, one said.

“We recovered seven bodies from the attack, which the terrorists launched from nearby Sambisa forest,” local resident Samson Bulus told AFP.

“One of the victims was shot and burnt in his car as he tried to flee,” he said.

There was no immediate confirmation of the attack by the Nigerian military, but Ayuba Alamson, a community leader from Chibok, confirmed the toll.

The village had yet to count those who had fled the attack, so it was unclear if any had been kidnapped, said Alamson.

The town of Chibok was propelled into the world’s spotlight in 2014 following a mass abduction of schoolgirls from their hostel by Boko Haram.

Northeastern Nigeria is struggling with a 13-year jihadist conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people and displaced around two million.

On Tuesday, Guterres wound up a three-nation West African tour with a visit to a camp for displaced people in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, around 150 kilometers (90 miles) from the attack.

Nigerian authorities are planning to close all camps for displaced people in Borno by 2026 — but aid agencies are concerned about security and conditions on the ground in some of the communities to which they will return.

Guterres said it was essential to create “the conditions, security conditions, development conditions for them to be able to go back home in safety and dignity.”

The insurgency was launched in 2009 by Boko Haram, which has since been largely superseded by a dissident offshoot, ISWAP.

In February, ISWAP attacked Kautikeri, killing three residents and burning a church, a month after killing two residents and abducting 20 children in nearby Pyemi village.

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