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The Defence Headquarters, on Monday, faulted a report by the United Nations that 110 civilians were killed by Boko Haram in Saturday onslaught on farmers in the Jere Local Government Area of Borno State.
NewsWireNGR recalls that the United Nations had in a statement described the killings as a “gruesome” massacre that left at least 110 people dead. The killings took place in the early afternoon of Saturday in the village of Koshobe and other rural communities in the Jere local government area near Maiduguri.
“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” Edward Kallon, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, said in a statement on Sunday.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, said as of Monday morning, 43 corpses were recovered from the incident scene in the Zabarmari area of the northeast state.
The terrorists were reported to have tied up the farmers, who were working on rice fields, before slitting their throats.
But reacting on Monday morning, Enenche said the troops counted the corpses together with the locals and 43 deaths were recorded and not 110.
He spoke while featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme monitored.
He said, “I knew it (the issue) is going to come up particularly because it is coming from the United Nations and not a source that does not want to be identified. This is a source that has identified itself that a 110 specifically (were murdered).”
Enenche, however, explained that he contacted the field commandants and “they gave me a synopsis of what happened. When the governor was to go (to the scene) and after they had recovered the dead, the troops had to move in there and they counted 43.
“Of course, some people ran into the bush and they started coming back and trickling in.
The DHQ Coordinator said the search for more remains of victims is still on but insisted that 43 corpses were retrieved from the scene as of today.
“Probably we may count up to the figure he (Kallon) gave in the future but as it is now, what we have counted with the locals is still 43 and we are hoping that we don’t get beyond that.
“This is the real situation. I did not sleep, we had to follow it because this is very relevant coming from the United Nations.”
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has said that 10 women working in the rice farms where Boko Haram slaughtered 110 persons are still missing.
The organisation in a tweet on Sunday stated that 16 out of the victims were IDPs.
It read, “Boko Haram and other armed groups must renounce their unlawful and vicious campaign of violence against civilians. The Nigerian authorities, for their part, must do more to protect civilians and bring the perpetrators of all such attacks to justice.
“Amnesty International’s findings show that, of the 43 farmers slaughtered by Boko Haram yesterday, 16 were Internally Displaced Persons resident at Farm Centre IDP Camp while 10 women working in Kwashebe rice farm are still missing after the attack.”