“Five members of a family were abducted today near the town of Dikwa by Boko Haram terrorists,” Babakura Kolo, a member of a militia fighting Boko Haram told AFP.
“The hostages included a woman, her three young daughters and sister,” he said.
Another militia member Ibrahim Liman gave a similar account, saying the victims were heading to Maiduguri under a military escort when their car broke down and was forced to stop.
“While the driver of the vehicle was trying to fix the car, Boko Haram terrorists appeared from the bush and seized them,” Liman said.
He said the driver however managed to escape.
The 83-kilometre Maiduguri-Gubio highway reopened to motorists last December two years after it was closed following regular jihadist attacks.
The highway was reopened following military successes against Boko Haram which saw the jihadists losing territory.
However, the group continues to launch sporadic attacks on motorists without military escorts.
Tuesday’s attack came a day after four farmers were abducted by the Islamists near the town of Konduga, 38 kilometres from Maiduguri, said Kolo.
He said one person was killed and two others injured in the incident.
The victims were among a group of 20 farmers from nearby Tori village who went to their farms “against military advice”, added militia member Musa Ari.
Konduga has been repeatedly targeted by Boko Haram Islamists.
In May the jihadists killed six farmers as they worked in Amarwa village in the Konduga area.
Boko Haram’s eight-year insurgency has killed some 20,000 people and displaced at least 2.6 million others, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.
The displaced who live in camps and host communities rely on food handouts from aid agencies who have had to cut back assistance due to a cash crunch.
This has forced many displaced to return to their farms in liberated areas despite the risk of possible Boko Haram attacks.
On Saturday, around 15,000 people in Gubio displaced persons camp in Maiduguri went on a rampage over reduced food rations, aid workers told AFP.
The rioters were said to have vandalised five vehicles and pelted aid workers with stones.
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