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Nigerian mourners attend the mass burial of farm workers killed in an attack at Zabarmari, Borno State Nigerian mourners attend the mass burial of farm workers killed in an attack at Zabarmari, Borno State  (ANSA)

Nigeria: Brutal attack leaves scores of people dead and missing

Burials are taking place in northeast Nigeria for scores of farmworkers murdered as they worked in rice fields. No group has claimed the attack but officials say it carries the hallmarks of Boko Haram militants who have been terrorizing the region for more than 10 years and control part of the territory.

By Vatican News staff writer

Villagers on Sunday buried 43 farm workers killed in an attack by suspected Islamist militants while security forces search for dozens who are reported still missing.

Eyewitnesses described a group of men who arrived on motorcycles and beheaded around 30 of the victims during the attack which began on Saturday morning in the village of Zabarmari. Residents said at least 70 people are feared dead. 10 women are amongst those missing.

Speaking during the mass funeral, Borno state governor, Babagana Zulum, called on the federal government to recruit more protection for residents.


"On the one hand," he said, “they stay at home and may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents.”.

Food prices in Nigeria have risen dramatically over the past year, driven by flooding, border closures and insecurity in some food-producing areas

Boko Haram or Islamic State

While there was no claim of responsibility for the attack, such massacres have been carried out in the past by Boko Haram or the Islamic State West Africa Province. Both terrorist groups are active in the area where Islamic militants have killed at least 30,000 people in the past decade. More than 2 and a half million others have been displaced.

The U.N. estimated that at least 110 people were killed across the Jere local government area of Borno state this weekend.

Authorities have voiced their alarm with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari who condemned the killings and said "the entire country is hurt", and the UN humanitarian coordinator who expressed “outrage and horror" for "the most violent direct attack" against civilians this year.

30 November 2020, 16:15