NIGERIAN military commanders have accused the 43 farmers killed by Boko Haram in Zambamari village in Borno State on Saturday of working closely with the terrorists and not revealing their location to the army or providing it with intelligence.
Over the weekend, 43 rice farmers in Borno State had their throats slit by Boko Haram in an unprecedented attack. Unlike previous assaults where the terrorists attacked with AK-47 rifles, this time around, they killed the farmers using knives, indicating that it was some form of punishment attack.
Over the last 48 hours, Nigeria’s federal government has come in for heavy criticism over its inability to safeguard the lives and property of its people. However, defence headquarters spokesman Major General John Eneche, said the insurgents had deceived the farmers that they will be preaching to them before carrying out their slaughter.
He also disclosed that Boko Haram informants were informing the insurgents about the movement of the army, while other citizens in the area were refusing to give intelligence to the Nigerian Army. It now appears that the farmers had established a rapport with the terrorists and it looks like their deal suddenly went sour.
Major General Eneche said: “We cannot force people to bring out statements. Even this one, they deceived them that they are preaching to them and that has been the main problem.
“First, they said we are going to preach to them, deceiving them. Look at another situation, our patrol will pass through a place, by the time you are going, some people will be looking at you, when you are coming back, you will meet an IED planted on the road and people saw them, they won’t tell us.”
He also disputed the figure by the United Nations (UN) on the number of persons that died. Noting that contrary to the report by the UN that over 100 people reportedly died, the Nigerian Army has so far counted 43.
“The military assisted in the counting. Some people ran to the bush and are trickling back into the villages. They are still counting,” Major General Eneche said.