The weekend attack on farmworkers in Borno State, northeast Nigeria blamed on the Boko Haram jihadist group left at least 110 dead, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the country said yesterday.
“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” Edward Kallon said in a statement after initial tolls indicated 43 and then at least 70 dead from Saturday’s massacre by suspected Boko Haram fighters.
“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year,” Kallon said, blaming “non-state armed groups” without naming Boko Haram.
“I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” he added.
The bloodletting centered on the village of Koshobe near the Borno state capital Maiduguri, with assailants targeting farm workers on rice fields, with a pro-government anti-jihadist militia saying the assailants tied up the labourers and slit their throats.
Kallon said the assailants — “armed men on motorcycles” — also targeted other communities in the area.
Borno Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum attended the burial Sunday in the nearby village of Zabarmari of 43 bodies recovered on Saturday, saying the toll could rise after search operations resumed.
The victims included dozens of labourers from Sokoto state in northwestern Nigeria, roughly 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) away, who had travelled to the northeast to find work, it said.
Six were wounded in the attack and eight remained missing as of Saturday.
Kallon, citing “reports that several women may have been kidnapped”, called for their immediate release.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the attack on Saturday, saying: “The entire country has been wounded by these senseless killings.”