By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Suspected Boko Haram members have attacked a group of firewood merchants in Borno State, killing no fewer than 18 persons.
A source told THISDAY that the 18 persons were killed around Koshebe, in Jere Local Government of the troubled state when they went in their usual habit to scavenge for firewood and charcoal.
They often load the firewood and charcoals into vehicles and sell them in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, and birthplace of Boko Haram.
The source said the latest killing happened on Monday when the victims had gone to the village to scavenge for firewood and charcoal for sale to residents of Maiduguri.
Jere is part of Maiduguri metropolis, and is believed to be unsafe as Boko Haram insurgents are said to be living in some settlements in the area.
A police officer, who worked in one of the Divisional Police Offices in Jere, speaking anonymously to THISDAY, revealed that 10 corpses were evacuated from the scene of the attack to Maiduguri.
He said that eight other corpses were yet to be evacuated as the vehicle could not traverse the difficult terrain to pick them from where they lay.
Another source said he saw security vehicles conveying the corpses along Kadamari-Maiduguri road at about 2pm on Tuesday.
He said: “There was an attack and ambush on firewood sellers who had gone to the bush to fetch their products by suspected members of Boko Haram terrorists in Koshebe general area of Jere Local Government Area of Borno state.
“18 dead bodies were seen at the scene of the attacks, but as it is, only 10 dead bodies were recovered and evacuated so far by our security forces in conjunction with members of Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF).
“The remaining eight dead bodies were yet to be evacuated due to inaccessibility of the area.”