Boko Haram attack kills 87 in north-east Nigeria

The Islamist fighters wore military uniforms and set up checkpoints outside the town of Benisheik

Boko Haram militants have killed at least 87 people in Nigeria's north-eastern Borno state, say local officials.

According to the BBC, witnesses said the Islamist fighters  - who demand the rule of Sharia law - wore military uniforms and set up checkpoints outside the town of Benisheik on Tuesday and shot dead anyone trying to flee.

A security source quoted by AFP said the heavily armed militants drove to the town in about 20 pick-up trucks, some with anti-aircraft guns.

Borno state governor Kashim Shettima visited the site on Thursday. He described the attacks as "barbaric and un-Islamic".

A military crackdown on the group ordered by President Goodluck Jonathan in mid-May had appeared to have weakened the sect, which has troubled Nigeria - Africa's most populous nation and biggest energy producer - since its appearance four years ago.

More than 160 people were killed in violence linked to Boko Haram last month, including 24 vigilantes ambushed and killed near the remote town of Monguono. A new army division was sent to Borno last month.

The sect has several factions and an ill-defined leadership structure, which has hobbled efforts to strike a peace deal.

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