The fishermen had returned to the fishing hub of Baga on the lake’s shores days earlier and had paddled out to the two islands in wooden canoes on Friday, looking for fish.

They were in pursuit of their source of income met their death instead.

Armed jihadists stormed the fishing islands of Duguri and Dabar Wanzam in the freshwater lake Saturday, attacking fishermen working in the area; shooting and hacking their victims.

“Boko Haram attacked Duguri and Dabar Wanzam islands and killed 31 people,” a member of a local militia fighting the jihadists in Maiduguri, Babakura Kolo told AFP.

“They (Boko Haram) killed 14 in Duguri and another 17 in Dabar Wanzam,” Kolo said.

News of the attacks was slow to emerge with communication in the area difficult as Boko Haram has destroyed telecom masts in the region.

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The Boko Haram jihadists first attacked Duguri island where they killed 12 fishermen and injured two others who later died, said fisherman, Sallau Inuwa.

The attackers spared one fisherman in Duguri and loaded the 12 bodies of the men they killed in a canoe and ordered him to take them to Baga as a warning that no one should fish in the lake, said another fisherman Dauda Tukur.

The attacks happened a week after military authorities lifted a two-year ban on fishing in the freshwater lake that straddles Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

They lifted the ban but left no soldiers there to maintain peace and order.

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