On the 10th anniversary of the outbreak of Boko Haram insurgency, its gunmen have killed 23 mourners in Borno state, after they attended a funeral, local militia and residents said.
The attack was another reminder of the lethal potency of the group, despite official stance that the group has been defanged.
At around 1030 GMT on Saturday, the attackers on three motorbikes opened fire on a group of men as they walked back from a funeral in Nganzai district near the state capital Maiduguri, local militia leader Bunu Bukar Mustapha told the AFP.
“Our men recovered 23 dead bodies from the scene of the attack, which happened this morning,” Mustapha said.
The men were returning to Badu Kuluwu from nearby Goni Abachari village where they had attended funeral prayers for a relative, Mustapha said.
A Nganzai district official confirmed both the incident and death toll.
“I received calls from Nganzai that Boko Haram killed 23 people near Badu Kuluwu this morning,” said the official, who asked not to be identified for his own safety.
Local hunters and militia recovered the bodies after survivors returned to the village and alerted them, Nganzai resident Saleh Masida said.
Boko Haram fighters have been repeatedly attacking Nganzai district.
In September last year, the group killed eight people and stole livestock in two villages in the area after residents tried to stop them from taking their animals.
Boko Haram and its IS-supported ISWAP splinter have intensified attacks on civilian and military targets in recent months.
Late Thursday, Boko Haram fighters attacked a camp for displaced people outside Maiduguri, killing two residents and looting food supplies after burning a nearby military base.
On 18 July, ISWAP also kidnapped six Nigerian aid workers, one of whom works for Action Against Hunger, an international agency.