Members of the Boko Haram terror group have shot dead at least 18 people during a funeral ceremony in north-eastern Nigeria on Thursday evening (16 June). Gunmen stormed Kuda village, in Adamawa State, setting houses on fire and shooting civilians, witnesses and local government said.

Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorists?

Boko Haram, which has renamed itself Iswap, fights against Western influence in Nigeria and aims to impose its version of Sharia law throughout occupied territories.

The militants launch attacks in Nigeria and neighbouring countries in a bid to take control of more territory. Three Nigerian states − Adamawa, Borno and Yobe − have been under a state of emergency since May 2013.

Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people since 2009 and was deemed the world's deadliest terror group, surpassing its ally, Islamic State (Isis/Daesh), in November 2015. Nigeria has also become the world's third most terrorised countryas a result of the group's violent insurgency.

Read more about Boko Haram

A police source confirmed the attack but told Reuters the death toll was not yet clear. State lawmaker Emmanuel Tsamdu said: "I am yet to get the details on how it happened and the real number of people killed. I have sent hunters to go to the area and get me the details because people are afraid to go to the village."

The latest attack came days after the group set up an FM radio station to boost recruitment and propaganda against the Nigerian government.

It is believed the radio station was set up along the border with northern Cameroon, where residents in Tolkomari village confirmed they had been receiving broadcast messages from the Islamist outfit via the radio station on 96.8 FM.

Regional offensive effective but attacks continue

Nigeria is heading an ongoing regional offensive against Boko Haram. The task force consists of 8,700 troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin.

The offensive has scored some successes, such as the recapture of several territories and the release of thousands of civilians previously held captive.

Although Nigeria's President, Muhammadu Buhari, declared a technical victory over the insurgents in December 2015, Boko Haram has continued to carry out attacks, with security experts warning underlying issues such as disenfranchisement, poverty and strong links with IS continue to pose major threats to stability in the region.

Earlier in June, gunmen believed to be part of Boko Haram killed at least four women by slitting their throats during an attack in Mairari village, in Borno state, the group's birthplace. The group also killed 30 soldiers from Niger, and two from Nigeria during an attack in Bosso, Niger, on 3 June.

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