Groups and esteemed Nigerians have reacted to the killing of rice farmers at Kwashebe by Boko Haram insurgents in the Jere Local Government Area of Borno State on Saturday.
On Saturday, it was reported that the terrorists attacked Kwashebe and killed almost 43 farmers.
The rice farmers, who were working on rice fields were said to have been tied up before slitting their throats.
Though on Sunday, the United Nations said 110 rice farmers lost their lives during the attack, a member of the state Civilian Joint Task Force, Babakura Kolo, who assisted some of the survivors said 43 were killed.
The UN however clarified that 110 civilians were killed by the insurgents, contrary to its earlier reports.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, stated that many other persons were injured in the gruesome attack by Boko Haram.
This was contained in a statement on Sunday, titled, ‘Statement on attack against civilians in Koshobe, Borno,’
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 the Coordinator, the attack was carried out by armed men on motorcycles and killed men and women, who were harvesting their fields in Kwashebe and other rural communities in the Jere Local Government Area on Saturday afternoon.
Kallon also lamented that many women might have been kidnapped during the attack.
He noted, “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.”
The UN who described the incident as “the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year”, called on the government for the culprits be brought to justice.
It said, “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 United Nations also stated that rural communities in Borno State were facing hardships.
It said the UN priorities is helping them to farm land and rebuild livelihoods as it is amongst and the only way to avoid the looming food crisis in the state adding that the civilians needed to be protected and spared from any kind of violence.
The statement read, “Innocent women, children and men desperately need food and other support and assistance, particularly at a time when we are recording some of the highest levels of food insecurity in Borno State. We owe to do our utmost to help them survive these difficult times.”
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, while commenting lamented that the attack would affect food security in the country.