Armed men on motorcycles, believed to be from the Boko Haram terrorist group, killed at least 110 farmworkers in rice fields in Nigeria’s conflict-hit Borno state. A United Nations official called it “the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year.”
“I am outraged and horrified by the gruesome attack against civilians,” Edward Kallon, the U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, said about the assault in the village of Koshobe and other rural communities near the northeast city of Maiduguri on Saturday, according to Bloomberg.
“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” the official said.
Kallon feared that several women may have been kidnapped.
“I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” he added.
Boko Haram and its faction, the Islamic State in West Africa Province, are known to be active in the area.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the killing of “our hard-working farmers by terrorists in Borno state,” according to Al Jazeera.
“The entire country,” he said, “is hurt by these senseless killings.”
Dozens of the bodies were taken a little more than a mile away to Zabarmari village for burial on Sunday, a resident Mala Bunu, who took part in the search-and-rescue operation, told AFP.
Earlier this month, suspected Boko Haram men reportedly killed 12 Christians, including a pastor, and kidnapped nine women and young girls in an attack in the same state, Morning Star News, a nonprofit news organization that covers global Christian persecution, reported.
Boko Haram is one of the world’s deadliest terrorist groups as it has engaged in its insurgency in northeast Nigeria and the Lake Chad region for over a decade. The group has killed and abducted thousands of people over the years.
The United Nations estimates that over 3.4 million people in Nigeria have been displaced due to the Islamic extremist violence in the northeast and violence in the country’s Middle Belt carried out by radicals from the herding community. The U.N.’s tally includes 2.7 million people who have been displaced because of extremist violence in the country’s northeast.