Suspected Boko Haram militants have killed at least 17 people and abducted dozens in a series of attacks in the central region of Nigeria's northeast Borno State, the head of a local administration said on Sunday.
According to Reuters, the killings happened on Thursday and mark the latest in a number of assaults by suspected Boko Haram insurgents despite the announcement of a ceasefire by the Nigeria government and ongoing negotiations with the group in neighbouring Chad.
"Seventeen persons were killed by the assailants after last Thursday's attack on Ndongo community," Alhaji Shettima Maina, head of the local government in Mafa district, told journalists. "We buried the remains of the victims in Mafa on Friday."
Chadian and Nigerian officials have attributed the attacks to dissident factions within the group and bandits posing as Boko Haram respectively.
Officials of both governments say they are confident of reaching an agreement with the militant Islamists which could end the conflict in Nigeria's restive northeast and free over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped in April.
But the continued killings and abductions have cast doubts over the ceasefire. Maina said about 30 youths had been abducted over the last couple of days.
"Once they invade a community, they abduct all boys aged 13 years and above and take them to their base," Maina said. "The insurgents also abduct all girls aged 11 years and above."