MAIDUGURI, Nigeria - Suspected Islamist militants attacked a fishing settlement in northeast Nigeria over the weekend, killing 20 civilians, the military said on Sunday.
The assault targeted Baga, a town on the shores of Lake Chad, until recently a stronghold for Islamist sect Boko Haram.
A concerted military crackdown in the northeast since mid-May has weakened the four-year-old insurgency, which is fighting to carve an Islamic state out of religiously-mixed Nigeria.
But it has also pushed the militants into hiding, mostly along a mountainous area near the Cameroon border, intelligence sources say, from where they can launch devastating attacks.
"The sect members came armed and started shooting sporadically, killing 20 civilians," said Lieutenant Haruna Sani, spokesman for the multinational force of soldiers from Niger, Chad and Nigeria tasked with security along Nigeria's porous northeastern borders. The attack was on Saturday.