At least 23 men from a scrap metal community have been killed by suspected jihadists in northeastern Nigeria on Tuesday, local militias said on Thursday.
Suspected Islamic State in West Africa (Iswap) militants abducted the victims from a group of about 50 scrap metal workers who had gone to Magdala village in Dikwa district of eastern Borno state, about 20 kilometres from the Chad border.
"For the moment 23 bodies have been found, all massacred by the terrorists," Babakura Kolo, the leader of a local self-defence militia, told AFP, contacted with difficulty because of the destruction of telephone relays by the jihadists.
"Three people have managed to return to Dikwa, but the fate of the other 20 or so scrap metal workers is unknown," he added. The search is continuing, said another militiaman, confirming the death toll of 23.
On the other hand, the Associated Press has also reported a death toll of 32in the same area.
These scrap metal dealers, who move around in search of salvaged metals, are frequently accused by the jihadists of informing the authorities about the movements of militants in the region, the birthplace of the Islamist group Boko Haram, from which Iswap seceded in 2016.
In late April, about 30 scrap metal workers were killed in the village of Mudu in the same district by suspected Iswap militants.