“Decapitation is a Boko Haram hallmark,” he added.
Boko Haram fighters have increasingly targeted loggers in their armed campaign, accusing them of spying and passing information to the military and the local militia fighting them, Liman said.
The latest victims were seized with their truckload of firewood near Aisa-Wulomari village, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Maiduguri, said Musa Ari, another member of the local militia who gave a similar toll.
“The truck and their firewood were also abandoned near the bodies of the loggers,” said Liman.
Boko Haram’s eight-year campaign of Islamist violence has killed over 20,000 people and displaced some 2.6 million from their homes, triggering a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.
Most of the displaced rely on food handouts from aid agencies while others have turned to felling trees from the scanty vegetation in this arid region for firewood which they sell to buy food.
In April eight loggers were killed and their bodies burnt by Boko Haram jihadists at Kayamla village, 10 kilometres from Maiduguri while collecting firewood in a bush.
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