Boko Haram Nigeria
Boko Haram poised to stop the bombings if the federal government releases all arrested members (Reuters) Reuters

Nigeria's security forces have shot dead four suspected members of Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram.

The governmental Joint Task Force (JTF) that tackles terrorism said ot killed the gunmen in the flashpoint city of Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria, according to local media.

Lt Col Hassan Ifijeh Mohammed said soldiers opened fire when the gunmen refused to stop at a checkpoint and tried to escape.

"Two of them fled with bullet wounds and our men are still on their pursuit," he said.

At least 10,000 people have left Nigeria for neighbouring Niger and Chad to escape the military crackdown on the Islamist group.

"According to statistics we've seen from the police, we have 10,000 Nigeriens that have returned on their own since the start of violence in Nigeria," Boube Yaye, Niger's permanent secretary in charge of Nigeriens abroad, told Reuters.

Yaye claimed that at least 13 innocent Nigerians had been mistaken for terrorists in the military sweep.

"Please, the mistreatment of innocent people has to stop. This isn't how we fix problems," he said.

Suspected members of Boko Haram attacked a popular market in Maiduguri in February, killing up to 30 people. The terrorists reportedly accused fishmongers of leaking secret information to the security forces that led to the arrest of a prominent sect member.