Residents of Zabarmari in Jere Local Government Area of Borno State have claimed that the killing of rice farmers in the community would have been avoided if the Nigerian military had taken action after being informed of the impending attack.
According to Daily Trust, one of the surviving villagers, who gave his name as Abubakar Salihu, said they foresaw danger after they arrested one of the Boko Haram terrorists and handed him to the security operatives.
He said: “We informed military beforehand that our members sighted Boko Haram in large numbers but nothing was done about it.”
“It was a sad day for us in Zabarmari; it could have been averted but the military failed to act on the information we gave them,” he added.
Another rice farmer, Mohammed Alhaji, told the publication that the victims were busy harvesting rice when the insurgents summoned and assembled them.
“It was a deliberate act to ensure that we do not harvest our farm produce. We need the federal government to assist us and secure our lives,” he said.
The Zabarmari attack occurred on Saturday, November 28, as Boko Haram terrorists rounded up farmers on rice fields and slit their throats or beheaded them.
A total of 43 bodies were recovered in one location after the attack. Bodies recovered from other locations have raised the death toll to 110.
The military has not yet responded to the villagers’ claims. However, Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, has blamed the farmers’ deaths on their failure to get military clearance before working on the field.
Garba Shehu said this while speaking to the BBC.
“The truth has to be said. Was there any military clearance from the military who are in total control of the area? Did anybody ask to resume activity?” Shehu said while speaking to BBC ‘Newsday’.