Boko Haram fighters have killed at least 20 loggers, militia members and residents told AFP yesterday, in the latest attack against civilians in northeast Nigeria.
The attack happened on Monday when gunmen on motorbikes opened fire on a group of loggers collecting firewood at Kaje village, near the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.
"They (Boko Haram) killed 20 people in the attack. Fifteen others are missing and presumed kidnapped by the attackers," civilian militia leader Ibrahim Liman told AFP.
Details of the attack have been slow to emerge due to limited communications infrastructure after years of fighting in the remote region.
Kaje resident Shuaibu Sidi corroborated Liman's account and said his brother was among the dead.
Nigeria's government and military maintain that the Islamist militants, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, are on the verge of defeat.
The conflict, which began in 2009, has killed more than 20,000 and forced some 2.6 million others from their homes, triggering a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.
But despite clear military gains in major towns and cities, hard-to-reach rural communities remain vulnerable to attack.