By Yakubu Uba
Some 43 rice farmers killed on Saturday by insurgents at Koshebe village in the Jere Local Government Area of Borno were buried on Sunday amid wailing and tears by residents of the community.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the farmers were killed at about 11 a.m. as they harvested rice on their farms.
The incident is the latest in the unrelenting killing of farmers in the North-East by Boko Haram insurgents, who have been campaigning for a strict Islamic code since 2009.
The insurgency has taken hundreds of lives and displaced thousands of residents, although the Federal Governments has been fighting back to defeat the insurgents.
Speaking at the burial of the farmers, Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno, said that residents informed him that the death toll could be as high 70 because some of the farmers were still missing.
Zulum advised that Nigeria and some of its neighbouring should forge closer cooperation to defeat the insurgency, which has wracked Nigeria for over a decade.
He pleaded with the Federal Government to recruit more indigenes of the state into the military and other security agencies to combat the insurgency.
Zulum said that his administration would recruit more hunters and Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), to complement the efforts of the military and other security agencies.
“We will restrategise 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 six million people in Borno State and we need to farm if we must survive,” Zulum said.
He observed that the insurgents who killed the farmers were from Wuda-Taya Game Reserve in the area.
The governor said that there was need to raid the area to save the farming community known for mass production of rice.
The out-going Chairman of rice sellers in the area, Malam Hassan Zabarmari, called for more security presence to protect 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 pleaded.