Suspected Boko Haram militants kill soldier in NE Nigeria

Kano  - Suspected Boko Haram jihadists killed a soldier in a suicide and gun attack on a military checkpoint outside the city of Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria, a military officer and vigilante told AFP on Thursday.

On Wednesday evening, two male suicide bombers detonated their explosives at a checkpoint in Dalori, a village on the outskirts of Maiduguri near a camp for internally displaced people, they said.

At the same time, other militants opened fire on the checkpoint, killing a soldier and injuring a policeman.

"We lost a soldier in the Boko Haram attack at Dalori Sector 3 checkpoint while a mobile policeman was injured," said a military officer, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak on the incident.

The jihadists set fire to makeshift sheds at the checkpoint and carted away weapons during the attack, said Babakura Kolo, a civilian vigilante assisting the military in fighting the Islamist group.

He said the Islamists were later pushed back by a military reinforcement.

The attack caused panic in the village and nearby camp housing thousands of people who have been displaced by the eight-year insurgency.

Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks on military targets in northeast Borno state in recent weeks.

Earlier in April, the militants killed four soldiers in an ambush on an army convoy heading to the small town of Gulumba.

Boko Haram, which aims to impose a hardline Islamist legal system in Nigeria's mainly-Muslim north, has lost territory to Nigerian forces since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in 2015.

A joint military operation, comprising Nigerian army, navy, airforce and the police, and aided by regional forces, is currently fighting the jihadists.

But despite claims by the Nigerian government that the Islamists are defeated, Boko Haram has proven repeatedly it is still capable of launching deadly attacks against civilians and troops.