Violent extremists in Nigeria have killed 110 farmers in a horrific attack that Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari called insane. The death toll is expected to rise even further.
As the farmers were at work in their rice fields, in the village of Koshobe and other rural communities in the Jere area near Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, extremists on motorcycles rounded them up, bound them, and then slit their throats officials said.
“Armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields,” Edward Kallon, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, said in a released statement.
“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he said, adding that 15 women are believed to have been kidnapped.
“I condemn the killing of our hard-working farmers by terrorists in Borno state. The entire country is hurt by these senseless killings. My thoughts are with their families in this time of grief. May their souls rest in peace,” President Buhari said.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for this gruesome act. Yet, Boko Haram is believed to be behind this attack as it has been conducting terror attacks in the area for quite some time. Ansaru, a Boko Haram splinter group, also operates in the area.
Most of the victims were laborers from Sokoto state in northwestern Nigeria, roughly 600 miles away, who had traveled to the northeast area of the country to find work, a Nigerian military member told the media.
“Our people are in very difficult situations, they are in two different extreme conditions: in one side, [if] they stay at home, they may be killed by hunger and starvation; on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents. This is very sad,” said Babagana Zulum, the governor of Borno State.
Locals claim that they were attacked because, on Friday, local authorities had disarmed and arrested a Boko Haram gunman who had been terrorizing the local farmers. Last month, in two separate incidents, Boko Haram terrorists killed 22 farmers in the area.
“A lone gunman, who was a member of Boko Haram came to harass the farmers by ordering them to give him money and also cook for him. While he was waiting for the food to be cooked, the farmers seized the moment he stepped into the toilet to snatch his rifle and tied him up,” Ahmed Satomi, a member of the House of Representatives said.
“They later handed him over to the security. But sadly, the security forces did not protect the courageous farmers. And in reprisal for daring them, the Boko Haram mobilized and came to attack them on their farms,” he added.
In the last 10 years, Boko Haram terrorists have killed over 30,000 people and displaced nearly 2.5 million more. The United States in November 2013, after much debate, declared Boko Haram, and its offshoot Ansaru, as terrorist organizations, citing Boko Haram’s links with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).