Boko Haram fighters have killed no fewer than 43 rice farm workers and set ablaze the entire rice fields with millions of tonnes of rice raised down near the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Saturday at a time the local council election is going on, Daily Correspondents can exclusively report.
About a dozen of farm workers were also abducted while six were injured and in critical condition, multiple sources confirmed.
The assailants tied up the agricultural workers and slit their throats in the village of Koshobe, in Jere local government council, a member of the CJTF said.
“We have recovered 43 dead bodies, all of them slaughtered, along with six others with serious injuries,” said a CJTF leader Babakura Kolo, who helped the survivors.
“It is no doubt the handiwork of Boko Haram who operate in the area and frequently attack farmers.”
The victims were mostly labourers from Sokoto State in northwest Nigeria, roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) away, who had travelled to the northeast to find work, said another member of the CJTF Ibrahim Liman who gave the same toll.
“There were 60 farmers who were contracted to harvest paddy in the rice fields. Forty-three were slaughtered, with six injured,” Liman said.
A dozen others were missing, presumed to have been kidnapped by the jihadists, he said.
Another resident, Usman Idris, said millions of tonnes of rice that was ready for harvest were also set ablaze by the attackers after slaughtering their owners.
The bodies of the victims were taken to Zabarmari village, two kilometres away, where they would be kept ahead of burial on Sunday, said resident Mala Bunu who took part in the search and rescue operation.
Satomi Ahmed, a member representing Jere Federal Constituency in the National Assembly also confirmed the attack.
“Farmers and fishermen were killed in cold blood. We have so far received 44 corpses from the farms and we are preparing for their burials tomorrow (today Sunday) by God’s grace,” he told Premium Times.
The lawmaker said the farmers “were attacked because they had on Friday disarmed and arrested a Boko Haram gunman who had been tormenting them.”
Last month Boko Haram militants slaughtered 22 farmers working on their irrigation fields near Maiduguri in two separate incidents.
Boko Haram and ISWAP, its IS-linked rival, have increasingly targeted loggers, herders and fishermen in their violent campaign, accusing them of spying and passing information to the military and the local militia fighting them.