Maiduguri (Nigeria): Clashes in Nigeria`s restive northeast today killed five Boko Haram Islamists and 13 fighters from a vigilante group which has fought a series of recent battles with the Islamists, a state government official said.
Members of the civilian militia heard that Islamists were planning to attack the town of Benishiek in Borno state, Boko Haram`s historic stronghold, said Garba Ngamdu, an aide to the state governor.
The Islamists arrived in the early hours of today morning and a gunfight broke out, Ngamdu added, in accounts corroborated by several vigilante fighters.
"The youths (vigilantes) in Benishiek lost 13 of their members. Twelve died when they were ambushed around 12:30 am (2330 GMT yesterday) and another one died in the hospital," he said.
He added that five Boko Haram fighters were also killed.
The governor`s aide and wounded vigilante fighters described the clashes to journalists in the Borno state capital Maiduguri, some 70 kilometres from Benishiek.