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United Nations (UN) Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, on Wednesday described Boko Haram’s murder of rice farmers in Borno State as “sheer inhumanity” and “abject cruelty”.
He urged stakeholders to “go beyond a security response” in finding a solution to the 119-year-old menace of terrorists in the Northeast.
The attack last Saturday on mostly rice farmers in Zabarmari, a community in Jere Local Government Area, saw at least 43 farmers killed. More than a dozen more are missing.
The envoy, who visited Zabarmari on Tuesday, was lost for words.
He said: “It is with great sadness, but also indignation, that I met the families of the victims of Saturday’s violent attack and their communities to extend my most sincere condolences, on behalf of the United Nations and humanitarian partners, and to commiserate with them on these atrocious circumstances.
“Farmers and villagers I have met have retold accounts of unspeakable cruelty. Innocent civilians – men and women – were ruthlessly killed.
“Details on losses are still coming in and the search for missing people is still ongoing. More bodies are being recovered. Farmers have also reported some of the missing women may have been abducted.”
He called for the immediate release of the “innocent women and girls” and their safe return to their communities.
The envoy said: “With more slain civilians recovered almost every day since the attack, it is clear that this was an act of sheer inhumanity and abject cruelty.
“The perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act should be brought to justice.
“I met His Excellency Prof Babagana Umara Zulum, Governor of Borno State, as well as their Excellencies the Governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba states and the Deputy Governor of Yobe State.
“We all agree that stabilising and developing the Northeast is not only important for the people living in these states but also crucial for the whole country and key to the sub-region.”
He explained that the farmers and families he met in Zabarmari were in shock.
“I reiterate our commitment to do our utmost to support the people of Borno State and particularly the most vulnerable, many of whom live in such remote areas and are taking inconsiderable risks every day to be able to have some food on their plate.”
‘If provided with the necessary resources and access, we are committed to doing more to provide urgent assistance to those most in need in the Northeast,” the Kallon said.
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