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Nigeria Says Jihadists Abduct Humanitarian Aid Worker and Local Officials

Borno state Nigeria

A humanitarian aid worker and two local officials have been abducted by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters in conflict-plagued northeastern Nigeria, two security officials said Wednesday.

Jihadists kidnapped them at a checkpoint in the village of Wakilti in Borno state on Monday, the sources told AFP, in the latest incident in a region that has been in the grip of an Islamist insurgency for more than a decade.

"The hostages included two local officials and an aid worker, but it is not clear which organization he works for," one security source said.

The two officials were returning to the regional capital, Maiduguri, from the town of Mobbar, where they had gone for local elections held on the weekend, the second source said.

In June, five humanitarian workers were killed a few days after being abducted by ISWAP, whose stronghold is on the edge of Lake Chad.

The local elections in Borno state were the first held since Boko Haram launched its insurgency in 2009.

In the bloodshed since, more than 36,000 people have been killed and over 2 million have fled their homes.

In 2016, Boko Haram splintered into two groups, the Islamic State-affiliated ISWAP and one that remained loyal to historic leader Abubakar Shekau.

The U.N. said the country's most violent attack took place Saturday, when Boko Haram fighters said they killed nearly 80 farmers in a rice field not far from Maiduguri, slitting the throats of many of the victims.

Although officials initially said that 43 people had been killed in the attack, the U.N. later said searchers had recovered more bodies.