Suspected Boko Haram kills 15 farmers in northeast Nigeria

By Ahmed Kingimi

MAIDUGURI (Reuters) – At least 15 rice farmers were killed and several others feared abducted in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state after suspected Boko Haram insurgents attacked three villages, a local farmers’ leader said on Monday.

The attack occurred in the villages of Koshebe, Karkut, and Bulabulin in the Mafa local government area in the state, about 15 kilometres from the capital Maiduguri, Mohammed Haruna, secretary of the Zabarmari Rice Farmers Association, told Reuters.

The Borno police spokesperson did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment on the attack, which happened on Sunday.

Haruna said the Islamists stormed the villages on motorcycles and attacked the farmers who were harvesting crops from their rice fields.

“They did not use guns to kill them, instead they used cutlasses and knives to stab them to death, while others were beheaded,” Haruna said.

He said 15 farmers were confirmed killed in the attack, adding that some managed to escape. The number of those missing is still unknown.

The attack is the latest in a series of assaults by Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria. The group has been waging a 14-year insurgency in the region aimed at establishing an Islamic caliphate there.

At least 40 people were killed in the northeastern Yobe state last week, the first major Boko Haram attack in the state in 18 months.

Last week, Nigerian lawmakers approved a supplementary budget that includes provisions for defence and security.

President Bola Tinubu, preoccupied with fixing the economy, has yet to outline how he plans to tackle insurgency in the north and widespread insecurity across the country.

(Reporting by Ahmed Kingimi; Writing by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo; Editing by Hugh Lawson)