Mourners pay theirs respects to the victims killed at the St. Francis Catholic Church on June 5, during a funeral service in Owo, Southwest of Nigeria, Friday, June 17, 2022. AP
The 10 victims, nine men and a woman, were scavenging for metal scrap from vehicles burnt in military operations in Goni Kurmi village, near the town of Bama, when they were attacked, two militia sources told AFP.
"The 10 people were all shot," militia leader Babakura Kolo said. "The victims were in the village to scavenge for metal scraps when they ran into the terrorists who shot them dead," said Kolo.
The bodies of the victims were recovered by the civilian force and brought to Bama, according to Ibrahim Liman, another militiaman who gave the same toll.
The Nigerian army, deployed in the region, has not yet commented on the attack.
Jihadists have recently been attacking civilians collecting metal scrap, accusing them of spying on them for the military.
ISWAP, which split from mainstream Boko Haram jihadist group in 2016, has become the dominant threat in northeast Nigeria.
Late on Friday ISWAP militants also attacked the town of Monguno, killing three militiamen and abducting three civilians, according to security sources and aid workers.
The jihadist violence has killed over 40,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in the northeast since 2009, according to the United Nations.
Despite ongoing insecurity, local authorities are encouraging displaced people to return to areas they consider safe, in a bid to wean them off humanitarian aid.
Among those living in crowded camps who rely on inadequate food handouts from aid agencies, some turn to felling trees for firewood and scavenging for scrap metal which they sell to buy food.
Already on June 7, 23 people searching for scrap metal were killed by gunmen believed to be from ISWAP in Magdala village in nearby Dikwa district, according to security sources.
And late last month, 30 others were killed in Mudu village in the same district.