Terrorists kill 27 people in northeast Nigeria

Twenty-seven people have been killed since Friday in four separate attacks attributed to jihadists in northeastern Nigeria, security sources and residents said Sunday.
The Islamic State in West Africa (Iswap) group, a breakaway branch of Boko Haram that split in 2016, has stepped up attacks in recent weeks despite ongoing military operations in the region.
Iswap killed 24 civilians in three villages in Borno State on Saturday night, an anti-jihadist militia leader and a resident said, claiming the civilians were targeted for aiding troops in the face of insurgents.
The attackers targeted the villages of Sabongarin Kimba, Mandara-Girau and Ngama on the outskirts of the Sambisa forest, one of the jihadists’ main hideouts, the sources said.
“The terrorists killed 24 people in the three villages last night,” said anti-jihadist militia leader Mustapha Karimbe.
“They moved from village to village, choosing their targets and massacring them,” Karimbe added, saying nine residents were killed in Sabongarin Kimba, seven in Mandara-Girau and eight in Ngama.
He said the soldiers had asked for help from villagers to guard a road where jihadists have a history of ambushes.
The attacks were “a punishment for the help the villagers gave the soldiers,” he said. The army and local officials could not immediately be reached to confirm the attacks.
Another militiaman, Umar Ari, gave the same account, saying the insurgents had sent a warning to the villagers, threatening them with “serious consequences” if they cooperated with the army.
The army says it has killed 180 jihadists and arrested 130 suspected “terrorists” in the northeast since late January. The 12-year conflict in the northeast has killed at least 40,000 people and displaced more than two million.