KANO: Jihadists in northeast Nigeria have since Friday killed 27 people in four separate attacks, security sources and residents said on Sunday.
The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), which split from rival Boko Haram jihadists in 2016, has escalated attacks in recent weeks, despite ongoing military operations.
Late on Saturday, ISWAP killed 24 civilians in three villages in Borno state, an anti-jihadist militia leader and a resident said.
They said the civilians were targeted for helping troops fight the militants.
Military spokespeople and local officials have not yet confirmed the attacks.
The villages are on the fringes of Sambisa Forest, a major jihadist hideout.
Fighters drove into Sabongarin Kimba, Mandara-Girau, and Ngama villages in Biu district, targeting residents, the sources said.
“The terrorists killed 24 people in the three villages last night,” anti-jihadist leader Mustapha Karimbe said.
“They moved from village to village, selecting their targets and slaughtering them,” said Karimbe, adding that nine residents were killed in Sabongarin Kimba, seven in Mandara-Girau, and eight in Ngama.
He said soldiers had enlisted the help of villagers to clear shrubs along the highway linking the villages, which the militants use as cover for ambushes. The attacks were “punishment for the residents’ aiding soldiers,” he added.