Some 43 rice farmers, who were killed by insurgents at Koshebe village in Jere Local Government Area of Borno, were buried on Sunday, amid tears, sorrow and wailing by residents of the community.
The farmers were killed by Boko Haram insurgents around 11 a.m. on Saturday, when they were harvesting paddy in their rice farms.
Speaking at the burial of the slain farmers, Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno State said that residents informed him that the death toll of the attack could be as high 70 because some of the missing farmers had yet to found.
Zulum underscored the need for Nigeria and some of its neighbouring countries to forge closer cooperation to defeat the Boko Haram insurgency, which has wreaked havoc on several parts of the country for over a decade.
He urged with the Federal Government to recruit more indigenes of Borno State into the military and other security agencies to combat the insurgency.
Zulum said that his administration would recruit more hunters and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), to complement the efforts of the military and other security agencies.
“We will re-strategise and ensure total domination of the Zabarmari, Gonglong, Koshebe axis of the state.
“We will recruit more CJTF and hunters so that our people can take the fight to all nooks and crannies of this area.
“We appeal to the Nigerian Army and Air Force to strengthen their support, with a view to defeating the insurgents.
“We have more than six million people in Borno State and we need to farm if we must survive,” he said.
Zulum observed that the insurgents who killed the farmers were from Wuda-Taya Game Reserve in the area.
The governor stressed the need to raid the area to save the farming community, which was known for mass production of rice.
Malam Hassan Zabarmari, the Chairman of Rice Sellers Association in the area, called for more security presence in the area to protect the farmers.
“We are expecting bumper harvest but with this incident, we are afraid to go to our farm in Koshebe village, which has been vacated.
“The insurgents have even started burning our farms; we need help,” he appealed to the government.