UN revises death toll from initial 43 as residents bury scores of victims following a massacre allegedly by Boko Haram militants in northeastern Borno state.
The death toll from suspected Boko Haram farm attacks in northeast Nigeria has climbed to at least 110, the UN said, as residents buried scores of the victims and authorities searched for dozens of people who are still missing.
"At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack," said Edward Kallon, UN humanitarian coordinator in the country, in a statement on Sunday after initial tolls indicated 43 and then at least 70 dead.
The massacre took place on Saturday in the village of Koshobe near the city of Maiduguri in Borno state.
Roughly 30 of the men killed were also beheaded in the attack.
In pictures: Mass burial held for scores of farm workers massacred in Nigeria's Borno state pic.twitter.com/tIhj9M2K8M— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) November 29, 2020
'Entire country is hurt'
President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the killings and said "the entire country is hurt."
In Zabarmari, dozens of mourners surrounded the bodies on Sunday, which were wrapped in white burial shrouds and placed on wooden pallets, as clerics led prayers for the deceased.
One resident and Amnesty International said 10 women were among those missing.
While no group claimed responsibility, such massacres have been carried out in the past by Boko Haram or Daesh group in Africa region.
They are both active in the region, where Daesh has killed at least 30,000 people in the past decade.
Recruitment of more soldiers sought
Borno state governor Babagana Zulum, speaking at the burials, called on the federal government to recruit more soldiers, Civilian Joint Task Force members, and civil defence fighters to protect farmers in the region.
He described desperate choices facing people.
"On one side, they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents," he said.
Food prices in Nigeria have risen dramatically over the past year, driven by flooding, border closures, and insecurity in some food-producing areas.
Violence in Sahel region
Last month Boko Haram militants slaughtered 22 farmers working on their irrigation fields near Maiduguri in two separate incidents.
Boko Haram and its Daesh-linked rival, 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 fighting them.
The violence has also spread into neighbouring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the militants.