18 Nigerian villagers killed by suspected Islamist militants -officials

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BAUCHI/MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) -Suspected Islamist militants killed 18 people when they attacked a village in northeast Nigeria on Wednesday, two local officials said.

Attacks by Islamist militants have been intensifying in northeast Nigeria in recent months, with dozens of soldiers killed and thousands of Nigerians displaced.

Wednesday's attack took place in Dabna, a village near the administrative area of Hong in the state of Adamawa, the officials said.

James Pukuma, chairman of the Hong administrative area, told Reuters that 18 people had been killed when a group of gunmen on motorcycles stormed the village and some residents fled.

Two churches and a house belonging to a local resident were set on fire, said Mohammed Aminu, the chairman of Adamawa state emergency agency.

"The attack took place in the early hours of Wednesday, about 5 a.m," said Aminu.

Two residents of Hong said the gunmen proceeded to nearby villages of Kwapre and Garka, where they shot and injured some people.

Police spokesman for Adamawa state Sulieman Nguroje said police could not comment.

A third resident said an unknown number of people were injured and taken to Hong Federal Medical centre in Yola, the state capital.

(Reporting by Ardo Hazzard in Bauchi, Emmanuel Ande in Adamawa and Lanre Ola in Maiduguri; Writing by MacDonald DzirutweEditing by Gareth Jones and Cynthia Osterman)