By Seun Adeuyi
The death toll arising from the killing of rice farmers at Kwashebe by Boko Haram insurgents in the Jere Local Government Area (LGA) of Borno State, on Saturday has risen to 110 according to the United Nation and not 43 as earlier reported.
Mr. Edward Kallon, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, on Sunday, in a statement titled, ‘Statement on attack against civilians in Koshobe, Borno,’ stated that 110 civilians were killed by Boko Haram.
Punch had quoted AFP to have reported that no fewer than 43 rice farmers were killed when the insurgents attacked Kwashebe.
The terrorists reportedly tied up the farmers, who were working on rice fields, before slitting their throats.
While Babakura Kolo, a member of the state Civilian Joint Task Force, who assisted some of the survivors, put the number of people killed at 43, the United Nations (UN) on Sunday said 110 rice farmers lost their lives during the attack.
Groups and individuals, including All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria; the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the Coalition of Northern Groups, condemned the attack, saying it would affect food security in the country.
Mr. Kallon, disclosed that, many other persons were injured in the deadly attack by the terrorist group.
Kallon said, “I am outraged and horrified by the gruesome attack against civilians carried out by non-state armed groups in villages near Borno State capital Maiduguri. At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack.”
According to him, the afternoon attack was carried out by armed men on motorcycles, who murdered men and women, who were harvesting their fields in Kwashebe and other rural communities in the Jere Local Government Area.
He condoled with the government and people of Nigeria, saying many women might have been kidnapped during the attack.
“We have also received reports that several women may have been kidnapped. I call for their immediate release and return to safety. My thoughts are also with the rural communities in the area, who are shocked by the brutality of yesterday’s (Saturday’s) attack and fear for their safety.
“The entire UN system and the humanitarian community working to provide life-saving and development assistance to the most vulnerable in Borno State are outraged by the incident. Such direct attacks against innocent civilians jeopardize the ability for the most vulnerable people to survive the adversity they are facing, and which we are striving to alleviate,” he noted.
The UN official described the incident as “the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year,” and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
“It is, unfortunately, one of too many such attacks targeting farmers, fishermen and families who are trying to recover some livelihood opportunities after over a decade of conflict. I strongly condemn this attack and any act of violence against innocent civilians and I firmly urge all actors on the ground to respect international laws and humanity,” the UN stressed.