SWITZERLAND, DECEMBER 01 – Extremist group, Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the gruesome murder of scores of rice farmers in Zabarmari, Borno State over the weekend.
“Boko Haram claims responsibility for #ZabarmariMassacre in a video released moments ago. The commander who spoke in the video said the attack was to avenge the killings of their members by soldiers and warned civilians to desist from spying against them,” investigative journalism organisation, Human Angle, announced via a tweet on Tuesday.
Locals say they recovered 43 bodies after Saturday’s attacks in villages near Maiduguri, the capital of the restive Borno state, which has been plagued by an armed campaign for more than 10 years.
Amid divergent figures, the United Nations late on Sunday amended an earlier statement putting the death toll at 110 people to say that “tens of civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded” in the “brutal” assault that was led by men on motorcycles.
In the statement, Edward Kallon, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, also cited “reports that several women may have been kidnapped” and called for their immediate release and return to safety.
In Zabarmari village, where a funeral was held for the victims of the attack on Sunday morning, a local resident who identified himself as Umar said “no one knows the exact number of people killed”.
“We can’t account for some farmers who were there during the attack,” Umar said, according to Al Jazeera. “We don’t know if they are still hiding inside the bush or if the attackers kidnapped them,” he said, adding that local members of government-backed vigilante groups were currently conducting search operations.