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Vigilantes in north-eastern Nigeria killed four suspected members of the Islamist group Boko Haram and captured seven others before handing them over to the army, a military commander said on Sunday.
The vigilantes left their base in Borno state to chase six suspects into the neighbouring state of Adamawa on Saturday, Beyidi Martins, a top commander in the operation against Boko Haram in the area, told AFP.
“The youth vigilantes mobilised from Maiduguri to Michika in pursuit of six Boko Haram terrorists who fled from Bama and succeeded in arresting them along with five other terrorists hosting them,” Martins said.
He said four had died of injuries sustained during the arrest by the time the militia handed over its suspects on Sunday.
The army has applauded the emergence in recent months of civilian fighters, describing them as a helpful tool which has boosted the military effort against Boko Haram.
The machete and axe-carrying vigilantes have succeeded in pushing Boko Haram insurgents out of the city of Maiduguri to villages near Nigeria's borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
However, the Islamists, who claim they are fighting to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, have repeatedly targeted the vigilantes, with dozens killed in a series of clashes across the north-east.
Violence linked to the insurgency has left more than 3 600 dead since 2009, including killings by the security forces, who have been accused of major abuses. - Sapa-AFP