Fears Over Safety of Returnee IDPs As Terrorists Kill 14 Farmers

Amid the current frenzy by the Borno state government to move refugees in Maiduguri who are fleeing terror attacks back into their communities, gunmen believed to be terrorists have killed 14 local farmers further raising concerns about the safety of returnees.

In the past weeks, the state government has vigorously pushed for returning displaced persons back to their communities. The state’s Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement is masterminding the push.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that Boko Haram jihadist fighters invaded the farms, seized the farmers who were working on their irrigation fields in Ngwom village, 14 kilometres north of Maiduguri. The victims had their throats slashed, a trademark of the Islamist jihadists.

“They slaughtered the farmers, killing 14 while one survived with a deep slash. They left him for dead,” said Babakura Kilo, a leader of the Civilian JTF.

The assailants took their victims by surprise as they tended their crops giving them no rooms for escape that early afternoon reported Ibrahim Liman, another member of the Civilian JTF.

The lone survivor was reportedly taken to a hospital in a “life-threatening condition,” according to Mr. Liman.

Boko Haram and rival group Islamic State West Africa Province, ISWAP, have increasingly targeted loggers, herders and fishermen in their violent campaign, accusing them of spying and passing information to the military and the local militia.

The violence in the region has taken a toll of over 30,000 fatalities with about two million people displaced from their homes since 2009.

Hundreds of displaced persons have already been moved back to their communities in the hinterlands of Kukawa and Baga in Kukawa local government areas. Kukawa is believed to be a strategic town located close to the shores of Lake Chad.

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