Suspected Islamic State-affiliated jihadists killed 32 people in two attacks in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, including 25 herders, an anti-jihadist militia said Thursday.
The attacks took place on Tuesday in the Lake Chad region, where the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) controls large areas.
In the first attack, ISWAP terrorists travelling in pairs on more than a dozen motorcycles massacred 25 Fulani herders grazing their livestock in Gudumbali woodland, 95 kilometres (60 miles) from the regional capital Maiduguri.
Militia leader Babakura Kolo said “The terrorists… left without taking anything” from the dead herders.
The jihadists had ordered them to vacate the area, accusing them of passing information about militant activities to the military, Kolo added.
The anti-jihadist militia are semi-official paramilitary units that work with the army.
“Most of the 25 victims were shot while a few of them were hacked to death,” said militia member Umar Ari who took part in the evacuation and burial of the dead on Wednesday.
Boko Haram and its rival ISWAP have increasingly targeted loggers, herders, farmers, fishermen and metal scrap collectors in their campaign, accusing them of passing information to the military and the local militia fighting them.
The jihadist groups have recently intensified attacks, mostly on farmers working in their fields in the ongoing rainy season.
Last month ISWAP jihadists killed 11 farmers in Kuwayangiya village outside Maiduguri while rival Boko Haram kidnapped 30 herders from three villages on the shores of Lake Chad, demanding ransom payment.
In the second incident hours later on Tuesday, seven men were shot dead by ISWAP fighters manning a checkpoint in Borno-Yasin village in Gubio district, which they use as a crossing point into their Lake Chad territory, according to the militia.
“The seven men were accused of attempting to smuggle narcotics into the terrorists’ territory and were shot on the spot,” Ari said.
Another militiaman, Ibrahim Liman, said the ISWAP men found an assortment of drugs and marijuana on the seven smugglers which “is a crime the terrorists don’t take lightly.”
At least 40,000 people have been killed and around two million displaced in the 14-year old jihadist conflict, which has spread into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.