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Militants kill 17 in northeast Nigeria

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Kano, Nigeria – Jihadists affiliated to the Islamic State group killed 17 people in a raid on a remote village in northeast Nigeria after villagers refused to pay an illicit tax, anti-jihadist militia and a resident told AFP Tuesday.

Scores of fighters from Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) stormed the remote farming and herding village of Kayayya in Yobe State late on Monday, 150 kilometres from the state capital Damaturu, hurling explosives and opening fire, the sources said.

“The terrorists attacked the village around 8:00 pm (1900 GMT) with explosives and guns while the residents were chatting away the night,” said Gremah Bukar, a militia member who assists the military fighting the jihadists.

“They then opened fire on those residents who tried to flee. They killed 17 people and injured five others,” Bukar said.

According to a Yobe state police report, 20 people were killed and parts of the village razed before the militants fled. A Yobe state security official did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

The attack was in response to the villagers’ refusal to pay jihadists a tax they demanded on cattle, Abubakar Adamu, said another militia member who gave the same toll.

Militants and armed groups in remote parts of Nigeria sometimes demand “taxes” on communities as a way to exercise control and raise funds.

Babagana Kyari, a resident of Geidam town, said the five injured in the Kayayya attack were taken to the general hospital in the town for medical attention.

“One of the injured victims said the ISWAP insurgents attacked the village because they told them they would not pay the cattle levy they imposed on the village,” said Kyari who visited the injured at the hospital.

A Yobe state police report said 20 people were killed and that parts of the village were razed before the militants fled.

Over the last two years, jihadists have carried out attacks beyond their stronghold in northeast Borno State, the heart of the country’s 14-year-long Islamist militant conflict.

Yobe, Borno state’s immediate neighbour, has also borne the brunt of the jihadist violence, including deadly raids on villages, military bases, schools and markets, as well as mass abductions.

In April last year, ISWAP jihadists killed 11 people in attacks on bars and a technical college in Geidam, days after six people were killed and 16 injured in an explosion targeting another bar in northeastern Taraba state.

On Wednesday ISWAP claimed responsibility for an explosion at a bar in northeast Taraba state the day before which local police said killed six people and injured 16 others.

Nigeria’s jihadist conflict has killed 40,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in the northeast since it erupted in 2009, according to the UN.

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