KANO: Five people were killed in a suicide bomb attack when Boko Haram raided a remote village in northeast Nigeria, a civilian militia member and the emergency services said today.
Ibrahim Liman, from the Civilian Joint Taskforce (CJTF), said the attack happened at Belbelu village, near Kayamla, in the Konduga area of Borno state, at about 10:00 am (0900 GMT).
Gunmen stormed the village and one of the jihadists broke off and headed towards a grain silo, forcing members of the CJTF to open fire.
"They kept firing at them with their muskets from behind the fence while he kept advancing and also firing back with his AK-47," Liman told AFP.
"When he got closer, he detonated the explosives wrapped around his body, killing four CJTF and wounding two others.
"A woman nearby was also killed. The attack forced the vigilantes to flee back to the village. That led to panic among villagers who began to flee.
"The attackers then moved in and broke in to the silos and took grain, mostly millet, sorghum and maize. They took what they could and vandalised the rest." The account was supported by a member of the emergency services in Borno, who asked not to be identified for security reasons.
The Konduga district to the southeast of Maiduguri has been a known hotbed of Boko Haram activity despite government and military claims the group is a spent force.
In August, four members of the CJTF were among five people killed in a Boko Haram ambush on a convoy of trucks under armed escort at Meleri village.
In June, Boko Haram gunmen hid in trees and killed eight members of the CJTF outside Kayamla. Eight loggers were killed and their bodies burnt near the village in April.
Militant fighters killed four traders at the weekly market in the village in April 2015 before looting food and taking away livestock.
In March 2014, five people were killed and several others wounded when the Nigerian Air Force bombed Kayamla in the mistaken belief it was a Boko Haram camp.
The latest attacks underline the continued threat from the Islamist rebels, particularly against vulnerable communities in hard-to-reach rural areas.
Yesterday, the Norwegian Refugee Council published new research that indicated most of the 1.8 million people still displaced by the conflict would not return home because of fears about security.
The biggest threat to civilians has been suicide bombers.
Borno state police said three women strapped with explosives tried to get into Molai General Hospital, on the outskirts of Maiduguri, at about 8:30 pm yesterday.
They blew themselves up but there were no other injuries.
About two hours later, a fourth bomber blew up in a nearby village.