ABUJA: Boko Haram militants killed 11 people on Friday in a raid on a camp for civilians displaced by the group’s violent insurgency, military and vigilante sources told AFP.
The Boko Haram fighters penetrated the camp in Banki on Nigeria’s border with Cameroon which houses 45,000 internally displaced people (IDP), using knives to kill their victims silently.
“At around 12:30 am (2330 GMT Thursday) this morning some Boko Haram terrorists broke the barricade securing the IDP camp from the rear towards the Cameroon border and entered to seize food from IDPs,” a senior military officer in the town told AFP.
“They killed 11 IDPs and wounded two in the attack,” said the military officer who declined to be named.
Boko Haram is waging an insurgency in a bid to capture the state in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north.
At least 20,000 people have been killed in violence since 2009 and more than 2.6 million people have been left homeless.
More than five million people are starving as the fighting has devastated farmland, leaving farmers unable to sow or cultivate crops for several years.
Adamu Ahmad, a member of a civilian militia charged with protecting the Banki camp, confirmed the incident.
The militants used knives to kill their victims instead of firearms to avoiding alerting soldiers at a military base adjacent to the camp, Ahmad said.
Soldiers expelled the attackers from the camp after the informal militia raised the alarm.
The raiders also stole food aid rations given to those living in the camp, said the military officer.
Boko Haram is reported to be running desperately low on supplies after Nigerian security forces successfully cut off supply lines to the group’s bases.
“We have reason to believe they most likely acted on a tip-off from insiders,” said the officer who suggested that wives or children of Boko Haram fighters may have infiltrated the camp disguised as displaced people to conduct reconnaissance.
Banki, which is 130 kilometres (80 miles) southeast of Borno state capital Maiduguri, was initially an area of relative safety for those fleeing Boko Haram since the camp opened in March 2015.
But it has been repeatedly targeted by Boko Haram suicide attacks.
In April last year, at least seven people were killed at the camp in a suicide bomb attack carried out by two women.
In January, a girl thought to be 10-years-old died in a botched suicide attack after the explosive vest she was wearing detonated outside the camp.