DORON BAGA, Nigeria, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Islamic militants killed nearly 50 Nigerian fish sellers near the border with Chad Thursday, using knives on some and drowning others, according to reports.
A group of fish traders told the BBC the men were on their way to the border of Chad in northeastern Nigeria to purchase fish when militants from Boko Haram intercepted them, cutting the throats of several and tying up and drowning others in Lake Chad.
The militants also destroyed mobile phone masts in the area, preventing news of the killings from being revealed for days.
One man said that the methods of execution were silent in order to avoid attracting attention of troops from Nigeria, Chad and Niger who are stationed about 100 miles north of Maiduguri in the village of Doron Baga, near where the attacks took place.
This follows another attack the day before in the village of Azaya Kura, when a similar number of people were bound and executed with blades. The BBC reports that those killings were in retaliation after members of the village pointed out four Boko Haram militants, who were then shot by government forces.
Last week, Boko Haram fighters were pushed from the northeastern town of Chibok by vigilantes and Nigerian troops. Chibok, where the Islamic militant group kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls in April, was considered by the government a high priority for recapture after the extremist group seized it and other adjacent communities in mid-November.
As Nigerian soldiers and vigilantes step up offensive actions against Boko Haram, the group has begun focusing its attacks against civilians.
Considered by many to be linked to al-Qaida, Boko Haram was labeled a terrorist group by the United States in Nov. 2013.
It has been at war with the Nigerian government since 2009, pursuing the formation of an Islamic government in the country.