Vigilante villagers in northern Nigeria have killed and detained scores of people they suspected to be Boko Haram fighters planning a fresh attack, residents and a security official said, after the radical group kidnapped more than 300 schoolgirls last month and is believed to be holding more than 250 of them captive in a remote forest.
People living in the country’s northern states have been forming militia groups in various areas to resist advances by Boko Haram, an armed group that wants to establish a state in northeastern Nigeria ruled by conservative Islamic law.
In Kalabalge, a village about 155 miles from the Borno state capital of Maiduguri, residents said they were taking matters into their own hands because the Nigerian military was not doing enough to stem Boko Haram attacks.
After allegedly learning about an impending attack Tuesday morning, villagers ambushed two trucks believed to be carrying members of Boko Haram, a Nigerian security official told The Associated Press.
The vigilantes detained at least 10 people and killed scores of others, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to give interviews to journalists. An Al Jazeera source said that at least 41 alleged Boko Haram fighters were killed. It was not immediately clear where the detainees were being held.
Kalabalge trader Ajid Musa said that after residents organized the vigilante group, "it is impossible" for Boko Haram to successfully stage attacks there.