Witnesses say vigilantes torched the home of a senior politician they accused of supporting Islamic militants in northeast Nigeria.

Politicians in the party of the targeted Mala Othman said opponents used vigilantes to settle political scores in Maiduguri city on Monday.

A soldier said the arson came as security forces acting under a state of emergency killed some 40 men accused of belonging to the extremist Boko Haram group. The soldier requested his name not be used because he is not authorized to speak to reporters.

He said he participated in the attack on the outskirts of Maiduguri and that the militants opened fire first.

Nigeria's National Human Rights Commission said Sunday it has credible reports that soldiers have indiscriminately killed civilians in reprisals for attacks on them by extremists.