At least five members of a militia force fighting Boko Haram jihadists were killed on Tuesday when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in northeast Nigeria, an emergency official and force member told AFP.
A man carried out the bombing at a checkpoint manned by the militia, known as the Civilian Joint Task Force, on the outskirts of Konduga, 35 kilometres southeast from the Borno state capital of Maiduguri.
“Five members of the Civilian Joint Task Force were killed in a suicide bomb blast in Mandarari outskirts of Konduga town… at a checkpoint,” said Abdukadir Ibrahim, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Borno state.
“Five people were also injured in the incident which occurred when the suicide bomber detonated the concealed IED (improvised explosive device) as he was being searched at the checkpoint,” said Ibrahim. Ibrahim Liman, a civilian militia leader in Konduga, confirmed the attack at the checkpoint.
“We lost five comrades in a suicide attack,” Liman said, “at around 1:25 pm (1225 GMT) a man was stopped for a search by the CJTF on duty at the checkpoint.”
As the man was being searched he detonated the explosives injuring five others who were in hospital to receive treatment, Liman said.
The attack comes two weeks after 86 people were killed in twin suicide blasts targeting a mosque and a nearby market in Mubi, a town in neighbouring Adamawa state. Nigeria, which is holding presidential polls next year, has been fighting the Islamic extremists since 2009.
Security forces have reclaimed swathes of territory from Boko Haram since Muhammadu Buhari came into power in 2015, yet the jihadists continue to stage deadly attacks which have spilled into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Boko Haram has allied itself with the Islamic State (IS), raising fears about the group’s influence in an impoverished region already home to a cluster of Islamist militant groups.
The jihadists regularly use suicide bombers, many of them women and girls, to target military checkpoints, mosques and markets.