Reports have it that Boko Haram terrorists killed five traders in an ambush on a recently reopened highway in Borno State.
A military source said that a convoy of vehicles carrying Nigerian immigration officials and a group of traders were travelling from Gamboru, on the border with Cameroon, to the city of Maiduguri when they came under fire on Monday.
“Three (immigration) officers were hit and injured in the fire exchange. The immigration men drove off towards Maiduguri, leaving the traders behind” the source said.
According to AFP, the five traders had joined the official convoy thinking it would be a safer way to reach the Borno state capital than travelling the notorious road alone.
The traders’ two trucks were looted and set alight, Gamboru resident Umar Ari told AFP by phone, also confirming the toll of five dead.
The Gamboru to Maiduguri highway is a strategic 140-kilometre (87-mile) trade route in the region, and provides an important link with neighbouring Cameroon.
The highway was closed for safety reasons at the height of the Boko Haram unrest some two years ago, but was reopened by the Nigerian authorities following a string of successes against the militants.
“Since the Maiduguri-Gamboru highway was reopened two months ago convoys of trucks carrying goods and other vehicles conveying traders have been coming to Gamboru under military escort without any incident,” said resident Ari.