At least 65 people mostly farmers were reportedly killed when terrorists struck at different times in Katsina and Borno states between Sunday and Tuesday, Daily Trust reports.
Our correspondents gathered that 50 people were killed and an unspecified number injured when the Boko Haram fighters attacked Kala Balge Local Government Area of Borno State on Sunday.
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Kala Balge is the easternmost LGA and has its headquarters in the town of Rann, situated on the international border between Nigeria and Cameroon, 365 km from Maiduguri.
Rann and adjoining villages have remained targets of attacks by terrorists, who killed and maimed people over the years.
The locals who are mostly farmers, fishermen and businessmen have lost their loved ones and fortunes to terrorists due to the limited presence of security operatives and full restoration of civilian authorities.
During Sunday’s killing, a source told one of our correspondents that the insurgents accused the locals of spying on them and revealing their location to the military despite several warnings to look the other way.
It was learnt that the villagers were rounded up and held hostage by the proscribed group a few kilometres away from Rann town, the local government headquarters around 3pm.
The source said the ISWAP fighters withheld them for about 2 hours before releasing the elderly men and three children among them and later slaughtered the rest one after the other.
The source said, “In the last few weeks, Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists have lost scores of their fighters to the military onslaught against them.
“They believed that most of their locations were revealed to the military by the locals. They warned them to stay away from their location but the civilian did not listen. They called them betrayals and said the killing would serve as lessons to others.”
A Counter Insurgency Expert and Security Analyst in Lake Chad, Zagazola Makama, said the fighters attacked the peasant farmers who were working in their fields with machetes.
“The bodies were dismembered while some were tied up and their throats slit by the terrorists.
“More dead bodies have been recovered, not less than 50 corpses and they have been buried according to Islamic rites Monday evening. The search for bodies continues because many are still missing,” he said.
The House of Representatives member from the area, Zainab Gimba, confirmed the incident to the BBC Hausa service monitored by our correspondent.
She said the incident indeed was a sad one and urged the military to do more to protect lives and property.
It would be recalled that the insurgents had in November 2020 killed 48 rice farmers working on their farms in Zabarmari town in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State.
The farmers were slaughtered by insurgents at the neighbouring Koshebe town in Mafa Local Government Area.
They were reportedly working on their farms in different locations including Zabarmari, Koshebe, Bulaburin, Karkut, Gudda, Gudda Cizama and Azaya before they were assembled at Koshebe and killed.
I’m yet to be briefed – Police commissioner
The military and Borno State Government were yet to speak on the matter.
On his part, the Commissioner of Police Commissioner in the state, Abdu Umar, who journalists approached at the International Conference Hall, Musa Usman Secretariat, in Maiduguri, yesterday said that he has not been briefed by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of the area or the local government chairman.
15 farmers killed in Katsina
In Katsina, the terrorists went on a rampage Tuesday killing at least 15 farmers when they stormed Gakurdi village in Jibia Local Government Area.
A resident told Daily Trust that the victims of the Katsina attack were killed while preparing their farms ahead of the rainy season.
He said the bandits, who rode on four motorcycles, were initially headed for Gakurdi village. He said when they sighted the farmers, they began shooting.
“They came around 8.30am today (Tuesday) using four motorcycles and started killing the people. Three were killed on the same farm and eventually, it was discovered that up to 15 were killed on different farms,” he said.
He added that by the time the villagers discovered what was happening, the attackers had fled the area.
In a related development, bandits rustled over 100 cows at Danye Gaba village, Bugaje ward also in Jibia LGA of Katsina State.
Danye Gaba village is about two kilometres away from the 17 Brigade, a military barracks in Katsina.
A resident, who craved anonymity, said the cows belonging to about seven persons were taken away by the rustlers around 1.30 am on Tuesday.
He alleged that the movement of the criminals was known since around 8pm on Monday and different security agencies were alerted but no proactive measure was taken until the bandits struck.
However, another resident who confirmed the incident said there was an exchange of gunfire between the criminals and the security agents during the attack.
The Commissioner of Police, Idrisu Dauda Dabban who visited the area commiserated with the families of those killed and assured them of adequate protection. He also said similar incident will not happen again.