Members of the Boko Haram Takfiri terrorist group have killed at least 43 Nigerian farm workers and injured several others in the country’s volatile northeastern state of Borno.
Local sources said the massacre took place on Saturday as the farmers were working in rice fields in the village of Kwashebe, near Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
The assailants tied up the agricultural workers and slit their throats.
“We have recovered 43 dead bodies, all of them slaughtered, along with six others with serious injuries,” said Babakura Kolo, the leader of a local militia fighting armed groups in the region.
“It is no doubt the handiwork of Boko Haram who operate in the area and frequently attack farmers.”
Ibrahim Liman, another militiaman, gave the same toll and said the victims were laborers from Sokoto state in northwest Nigeria, roughly 1,000 kilometers away, who had traveled to the northeast to find work.
“There were 60 farmers who were contracted to harvest paddy in the rice fields. Forty-three were slaughtered, with six injured,” Liman said, adding that eight others were missing, who are presumed to have been kidnapped by the Takfiri terrorist group.
Local residents said the bodies were taken to the nearby Zabarmari village, where they would be kept ahead of burial on Sunday.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari extended his condolences to the victims’ families and condemned the attack, saying, “The entire country has been wounded by these senseless killings.”
Last month, Boko Haram terrorists took the lives of at least 22 farmers working on their irrigation fields near Maiduguri in two separate incidents.
Northeastern Nigeria has been wracked by years of violence involving clashes between rival communities over land, attacks by heavily-armed criminal gangs, and reprisal killings by vigilante groups.
Boko Haram and the West Africa Province (ISWAP) branch of the Daesh terrorist group 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.
More than 30,000 people have been killed and nearly 3 million displaced in a decade of Boko Haram’s violence in Nigeria, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Boko Haram’s violence has spilled over into the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon, which have created a joint military force to fight the terrorists.
Violence by Boko Haram has affected 26 million people in the Lake Chad region and displaced 2.6 million others, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
The brutal massacre on Saturday occurred as Nigerian voters went to the polls in local elections in Borno State after the vote had been repeatedly postponed due to an increase in attacks by Boko Haram and ISWAP.