Governor of Borno state, Prof. Babagana Zulum, has commiserated with the people of Zabarmari in Jere Local Government Area of the state over the killing of no fewer than 43 farmers by Book Haram insurgents on Saturday.
The victims of the attack lived in Zabarmari, a farming community in Jere LGA, famous for rice cultivation and local processing, but were attacked at Koshebe village in Mafa Local Government Area where they cultivated rice.
Speaking to the bereaved community, during the burial of the victims on Sunday, Zulum said: “First of all, accept my deepest sympathy over this carnage, once again, that affects all of us and every human being with conscience. I am told some persons are still missing. We have been discussing with the military since yesterday. Insha Allah, the remaining people will be traced soon.”
The governor, while speaking with journalists Saturday evening said: “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, 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. We are still appealing to the federal government to ensure recruitment of more of our youths in the CJTF and hunters into the Nigerian military and the Civil Defence so that they can form part of the agro rangers that will protect farmers.
“We need many boots to protect farmlands and our youths understand the terrain. We will not lose hope because we have to remain optimistic about ending the insurgency.”
Meanwhile, Governor Zulum has been told that the death toll of the rice farmers killed in the state may rise above the 43 corpses buried Sunday morning.
During the emotional burial, the governor was told by residents who were involved in the retrieval of the corpses that it was still early to determine the number of those killed in the attack.
They revealed that some of those who went to the farms on Saturday were still missing.
One of the residents, who preferred anonymity for security reasons, said: “Your Excellency, as you have seen here, 43 corpses were buried, but others have not been retrieved from the scene of the incident. Nobody can tell you the exact number of people killed. Some of the victims are still missing”