On this weekend, nearly 43 farm workers and fishermen were killed in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state. They were killed in their villages while they were working outside. The attacker tied them all up and then sliced their throats in brutal fashions. Although no group has officially claimed responsibility for this heinous crime, all are suspecting Boko Haram for these violent killings, and rightfully so.
The cause of the attack:
Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa have been terrorizing Nigeria for quite some time. terrorist groups such as this have been responsible for several acts of violence all throughout last year and even this year. On October 2020, in two separate attacks, Boko Haram fighters killed 22 farmers working on irrigation. (BBC NEWS, 2020)
The victims of the recent attacks were laborers from Sokoto state in north-western Nigeria, roughly 1,000 km (600 miles) away. They had traveled to the Borno state to find work, unfortunately, what they found was something else. It is suspected that Boko Haram killed these farmers as a revenge attack because on Friday they captured a Boko Haram gunmen that had been tormenting them and handed him to the authority. “They handed the gunmen over to the security. But sadly, the security forces did not protect the courageous farmers. And in reprisal for daring them, the Boko Haram mobilized and came to attack them on their farms,” Ahmed Satomi, who represents the Jere Federal constituency of Borno told The Associated Press. (CBC, 2020)Boko Haram is known for its brutal campaign against Non-Muslim civilians and any civilians that side with the government against them. In the past, they also killed many other civilians for simply passing information to the government. In the recent attacks, they not only killed the men but also abducted many women, which can result in even a more brutal fate for them.
Condemnation against the attack:
Babagana Zulum the governor of Borno state, attended the victims’ funerals on Sunday. “It is disheartening that more than 40 citizens were slaughtered while they were working in their farmlands. Our people are in very difficult situations, they are in two different extreme conditions: on one side, [if] they stay at home, they may be killed by hunger and starvation; on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents. This is very sad,” he told journalists. (BBC NEWS, 2020)Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari also condemned the killings.
“I condemn the killing of our hardworking farmers by terrorists in Borno state. The entire country is hurt by these senseless killings. My thoughts are with their families in this time of grief. May their souls rest in peace,” President Buhari made this statement regarding the attack through a spokesman in a tweet. (France-Presse, 2020)On Sunday hundreds of mourners and Islamic clerics attended the funeral to put to rest the body of the victims. United Nations humanitarian coordinator Edward Kallon referred to the incident as “the most violent direct attack against civilians this year”. (CBC, 2020)
Call for Security against the Militants:
Although the Nigerian government claims that Boko Haram is defeated, the terror group is still causing havoc in the country sides of Nigeria and other African countries. The United Nations estimated that at least 110 people were killed across the Jere area of Borno State in the recent month by Boko Haram. This conflict with Boko Haram has displaced nearly two million people since 2019 and has caused the death of at least 36,000 people. Boko Haram and other Islamic terror groups have increasingly targeted loggers, herders, and fishermen in their violent campaign. They are accusing the locals of spying and passing information to the military and the local anti-jihadist Militia.
The violence has also spread to neighboring states like Niger, Chad, and Cameroon; forcing all of them to come together to create a coalition against the terror groups. Civilians in Nigeria are asking for more protection, especially at the rural level. Even people within the government like Borno state governor BabaganaZulum, called on the federal government to recruit more soldiers, Civilian Joint Task Force members, and civil defense fighters to protect farmers. (CBC, 2020) Whether that will be enough to quell this violence, only time can tell.
(2020, 11 30). Retrieved from CBC: https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/nigeria-farmers-killed-suspected-militants-1.5822152
(2020, 11 30). Retrieved from BBC NEWS: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-55120638
France-Presse, A. (2020, 11 28). Boko Haram kill dozens of farm workers in Nigeria. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/28/boko-haram-reported-to-have-killed-dozens-of-farm-workers-in-nigeria