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Ireland At least 43 farmers killed by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria, election day

23:40  28 november  2020
23:40  28 november  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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Boko Haram militants have killed at least 43 people in a five-hour assault on the town of Gubio in northeastern Nigeria 's Borno state, witnesses said on

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Electeurs dans un camp de déplacés près de Maiduguri le 28 novembre 2020 © Audu MARTE Voters in an IDP camp near Maiduguri on November 28, 2020

At least 43 farmers were killed by Boko Haram in Borno State, in northeastern Nigeria, where the first local elections held since the start of the jihadist insurgency in 2009.

"We found 43 lifeless bodies, all of them were slaughtered , and six people seriously injured, "said Babakura Kolo, head of a pro-government vigilante group.

"It is undoubtedly the work of Boko Haram which operates in the region and frequently attacks farmers," said Mr. Kolo who participated in the evacuation of the victims.

This attack took place in a paddy field located less than ten kilometers from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. Last month, 22 farmers had already been killed in their fields, located not far from the city.

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At least 20,000 people have been killed and thousands more abducted since Boko Haram launched its insurgency in the city of Maiduguri, north -east Nigeria On Tuesday, the army said the bodies of nine Nigerian soldiers and a civilian had been recovered. But now the university has said at least five

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"Sixty farm workers were hired to harvest rice in this field. Forty-three were shot dead, and six others injured," another militiaman, Ibrahim Liman, confirmed to AFP.

Eight farmers are missing and presumed kidnapped by the jihadists, the source added.

The bodies of the victims were transferred to the village of Zabarmari, two kilometers from the paddy field. They will be buried on Sunday, according to one of its residents, Mala Bunu, who took part in the relief operations.

This attack takes place on the day of the elections of the representatives and regional councilors of the 27 constituencies of Borno State.

This election had been postponed many times since 2008, Boko Haram, and its rival faction, the Islamic State group in West Africa (Iswap), having multiplied the deadly attacks: they control from part of the territory.

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The Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009, when the jihadist group Boko Haram started an armed rebellion against the government of Nigeria .

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For five constituencies located on the edges of Lake Chad, an area controlled by the Iswap group, the inhabitants voted this Saturday far from home, in Maiduguri.

It is in this city and its outskirts that hundreds of thousands of people have found refuge in makeshift camps after their villages were attacked by jihadists.

Around 2 million people have had to flee their homes since the start of the conflict in 2009, which left more than 36,000 dead.

"It is my duty to come and vote for the representatives and the regional advisers because they are the persons in charge of my locality", declared to AFP Bukar Amar, a displaced person of the conflict who voted for his locality since the. Bakassi camp.

- Displaced without resources -

"So far, the elections have gone well and we hope that all voters will be able to slip their ballot into the ballot box before the offices close," Abdulrahman Bulama Ali said in the middle of the day, an election official in this camp.

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Escalating conflict between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria is "six times deadlier" than Boko Haram -related attacks this year, posing a great threat Nigeria 's President Muhammadu Buhari visits Plateau State, where police said at least 86 people were killed by armed herdsmen on June 26, 2018.

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For several months, the authorities have encouraged the displaced people to return to their villages, claiming that it was no longer possible to take care of them, the displaced depend almost entirely on humanitarian aid to survive and not having more access to their fields.

A large number of displaced people have thus returned to their villages, which were ravaged by violence.

"We want to return home, and these local elections are a big step for me," said Mr. Bukar in the middle of the day.

The attacks target loggers, ranchers and fishermen more and more frequently. They accuse them of spying and transmitting information to soldiers and militias fighting jihadist violence in the region.

The conflict that has lasted for more than ten years has created a dramatic humanitarian crisis, recently exacerbated by poor harvests and restrictions linked to the coronavirus.

"We recorded levels of food insecurity similar to those of 2016-2017, at the height of the humanitarian crisis, when the risk of famine threatened the northeast," the UN humanitarian coordinator told the Northeast in November. Nigeria, Edward Kallon.

Around 4.3 million people were food insecure in June 2020, during the lean season. The UN predicts that this figure will increase by 20% next year in the same season.

abu-cma / stb

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