Islamist militants killed at least 25 people and wounded others in attacks on two villages in Nigeria's northeastern Borno state, a hotbed for insurgency, a police source and two residents said on Wednesday.
The militants killed 18 herders grazing their livestock in one village and seven other people in another village, both in Kukawa district of the state that borders neighbouring Chad on Tuesday, the police source said.
Habibu Ardo, a herder in the area, said "ISWAP fighters (riding) on more than 15 motorcycles attacked our people while grazing in Kukawa and beheaded 18 of them without firing a single bullet on them in order to avoid the attention of security forces.”
Bakura Mustapha, a local vigilante who helped bury the dead, said “about 18 of the corpses were recovered in the bush and they have been buried today according to Islamic rites.”
A police spokesperson did not immediately respond to calls to confirm the incident.
Borno state is at the heart of a 14-year Islamist insurgency in Nigeria, which has spilled into neighbouring Chad and Cameroon. The conflict was launched by Boko Haram and later joined by its offshoot ISWAP, a regional affiliate of the Islamic state.
The United Nations estimates that the conflict had killed some 350,000 people by the end of 2020 and has left millions dependent on aid.
By Ahmed Kingimi, Reuters