At least four policemen were killed in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state in a battle with suspected jihadists, a law enforcement spokesman said Saturday.

Borno is at the heart of the insurgency by the jihadist groups Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa (ISIS, a splinter of the former), which have been waging bloody attacks on security forces and civilians for more than a decade.

A police spokesman in Borno state said jihadists attacked the community of Gajiram, some 82 kilometers from Maiduguri, its capital.

“Our men engaged in a battle with them, denied them access (…), repelled the attack. Unfortunately, four police officers paid the ultimate price,” the spokesman said, assuring that calm had been restored.

The district of Nganzai, where this community is located, is ravaged by IKDA fighters, launching sporadic attacks.

Nigeria remains mired in a multi-dimensional security, economic and humanitarian crisis, exacerbated by climate change and a population explosion in the country of 215 million people, Africa’s most populous. Almost half of the inhabitants live in a state of extreme poverty (they have incomes that do not exceed 2 dollars a day), despite its enormous oil wealth.

Apart from jihadist activity in the north-east of the country, populations in north-west and central Nigeria have been tested for years by armed gangs of thugs who loot, kidnap for ransom and kill, attacks and acts of revenge between herdsmen and farmers who compete for the ever-growing harder to find resources, land and water, while in the south the activity of separatist rebels continues.