Suspected Boko Haram kills at least 40 in Nigeria’s Yobe state, police say

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) – At least 40 people were killed in Nigeria’s Yobe state between Monday and Tuesday after suspected Boko Haram militants shot at villagers and set off a land mine, in the first major attack on the northern eastern state in 18 months, the police said on Wednesday.

The attack happened at about 8:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) on Monday, at Gurokayeya village, Gaidam local government in Yobe State, the state’s police spokesperson Abdulkarim Dungus said.

He said gunmen opened fire on villagers, killing at least 17 people and that on Tuesday a land mine exploded, killing at least 20 villagers who were returning from burying victims of the previous attack.

The Islamist group has been killing and abducting villagers in Borno state, a hotbed for militancy that has been the epicentre of a 14-year war on insurgency in Nigeria.

President Bola Tinubu and his cabinet on Monday approved $2.8 billion supplementary budget to fund “urgent issues” including defence and security.

Tinubu, preoccupied with the economy, has yet to disclose how he would tackle insurgency in the north and widespread insecurity in other parts of the country.

The Yobe community had been at peace for over a year before this attack, residents said. The last time a bomb exploded in Yobe state was in April 2022.

Lawan Ahmed, a resident, told Reuters the militants shot at villagers sporadically from motorbikes, killing about 18 people on Monday.

Ahmed added that the same insurgents on Tuesday attempted to eliminate those who had gone to the burial on Monday, killing more than 20 people.

(Reporting by Lanre Ola and Ahmed Kingimi; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by MacDonald Dzirutwe, Franklin Paul, Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)