At least 50 people were killed by militants on Sunday around the town of Rann in Nigeria’s Borno state, in the country’s northeastern tip near the border with Cameroon, witnesses told Reuters by phone on Monday.
Nigeria’s northeast, particularly Borno state, has been the center of an insurgency led by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram since 2009. According to the United Nations, attacks and the resulting humanitarian crisis have displaced millions of people and killed 350,000 people.
Boko Haram has divided over time, with an active offshoot known as Islamic State West Africa Province claiming responsibility for attacks in Nigeria.
Locals blamed Boko Haram for the latest attack. A request for response from Army spokesman Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu was not immediately returned.
“We are all in pain over the killing of our innocent people who were working on their farmland. … We buried 50 people today in Rann. They were clearing their farmlands ahead of the rainy season, while others went for firewood,” Harun Tom, a local farmer, said.
A sight of devastation was described by Agid Muhammad, a farmer who had returned to Rann after living in an internally displaced persons camp.
“A large number of Boko Haram on motorcycles armed with guns and machetes surrounded our people who were working on their farms and held them hostages before killing them one by one,” Muhammad said, adding that his uncle was still missing.
“They were tied with rope and slaughtered. As I’m speaking to you, many people aren’t accounted for.”