At least 110 civilians were coldly killed in northeast Nigeria on Saturday while working in their fields, according to a new report. It is the deadliest attack against civilians this year in this region, which has been in the throes of a jihadist insurgency for more than 10 years.
The massacre took place on the day of the elections of representatives and regional advisers of the 27 constituencies of Borno State, the first to be organized since the start of the armed insurrection of the Boko Haram group in 2009. Since that date, there have been more 36,000 people killed and more than two million had to flee their homes.
On November 28, in the early afternoon, armed men arrived on motorcycles and carried out a brutal attack on men and women working in fields in Koshobe. At least 110 civilians were coldly killed, and many more injured in the attack, confirmed in a statement the UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon.
The UN press release does not mention the jihadist group Boko Haram, nor its dissident faction, the armed group Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP), which is increasing violence in this region and controlling part of Nigerian territory.
The attack took place in a paddy field less than 10 kilometers from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, the epicenter of the Islamist insurgency. Last month, 22 farmers were already killed in their fields not far from the city.
Farmers, fishermen and loggers are regularly targeted by jihadists, who accuse them of passing information on to the army or of not paying
tax jihadist, compulsory to exercise an economic activity in certain areas of Borno.
A death toll of 43 first
On Saturday, the head of a pro-government vigilante group had reported 43 dead.
We found 43 lifeless bodies, all of them had their throats cut, Babakura Kolo said. It is undoubtedly the work of Boko Haram which operates in the region and frequently attacks farmers. The inhabitants indiscriminately refer to the jihadists in this region as elements of Boko Haram, whether they belong to this group or to ISWAP. But the group affiliated with the Islamic State group is most active in the area where the attacked village is located, said Bulama Bukarti, analyst for sub-Saharan Africa at the Tony Blair Institute, on Twitter. The first 43 victims were buried on Sunday in the nearby village of Zabarmari, in the presence of the governor of Borno State, Babaganan Umara Zulum, as the search for other victims in swampy and difficult to access waters continued. The governor said Sunday that 70 farmers had been killed, while warning that this toll could increase in the coming hours. Among the victims were dozens of farm workers from Sokoto state, about 1,000 km to the west, who had traveled to Borno state to find work in the rice fields.
Villagers flee their land
Hundreds of thousands of people have taken refuge in makeshift camps after their villages were attacked by jihadists. Around 2 million people have had to flee their homes since the conflict began in 2009, which has left more than 36,000 dead.
For several months, the authorities have encouraged the displaced people to return to their villages, claiming that it is no longer possible to take care of them. The displaced depend almost entirely on humanitarian aid for their survival.
A large number of displaced people have thus returned to their villages, which were ravaged by violence.
The conflict, which has lasted for more than 10 years, has created a dramatic humanitarian crisis, recently exacerbated by poor harvests and restrictions linked to the coronavirus.
We recorded levels of food insecurity similar to those of 2016-2017, at the height of the humanitarian crisis, when the risk of famine threatened the northeast., said UN humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria Edward Kallon in November.
About 4.3 million people were food insecure in June 2020, during the lean season, which lies between the depletion of reserves and the start of harvests. The UN predicts that this figure will increase by 20% next year in the same season.
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