Boko Haram kills five in at­tack on re­opened high­way

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

KANO — Boko Haram killed five traders in an am­bush on a high­way in north­east Nige­ria that was re­cently re­opened af­ter com­ing un­der re­peated at­tack from the Is­lamist group, a mil­i­tary source said on Wed­nes­day.

A con­voy of ve­hi­cles car­ry­ing Nige­rian im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials and a group of traders were trav­el­ling from Gam­boru, on the border with Cameroon, to the city of Maiduguri when they came un­der fire on Mon­day. “Three (im­mi­gra­tion) of­fi­cers were hit and in­jured in the fire ex­change. The im­mi­gra­tion men drove off to­wards Maiduguri, leav­ing the traders be­hind,” an army of­fi­cer told AFP on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The five traders had joined the of­fi­cial con­voy think­ing it would be a safer way to reach the Borno state cap­i­tal than trav­el­ling the no­to­ri­ous road alone.

The traders’ two trucks were looted and set alight, Gam­boru res­i­dent Umar Ari told AFP by phone, also con­firm­ing the toll of five dead.

The Gam­boru to Maiduguri high­way is a strate­gic 140-kilo­me­tre trade route in the re­gion and pro­vides an im­por­tant link with neigh­bour­ing Cameroon.

The high­way was closed for safety rea­sons at the height of the Boko Haram un­rest some two years ago but was re­opened by the Nige­rian au­thor­i­ties fol­low­ing a string of suc­cesses against the mil­i­tants. “Since the Maiduguri-Gam­boru high­way was re­opened two months ago con­voys of trucks car­ry­ing goods and other ve­hi­cles con­vey­ing traders have been com­ing to Gam­boru un­der mil­i­tary es­cort with­out any in­ci­dent,” said res­i­dent Ari.

Boko Haram, which seeks to im­pose strict Is­lamic law in north­ern Nige­ria, has been blamed for some 20 000 deaths and dis­plac­ing more than 2.6 mil­lion peo­ple since 2009. A counter-of­fen­sive spear­headed by Nige­ria since Jan­uary last year has re­cap­tured swathes of ter­ri­tory lost to the Is­lamist mil­i­tants in 2014.

But spo­radic at­tacks con­tinue and se­cu­rity re­mains a ma­jor con­cern in the re­gion. — AFP

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