1 December 2020 – Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) is deeply concerned by reports of dozens of farmers killed in a massacre in Northeast Nigeria by armed opposition groups. CIVIC strongly condemns this brazen attack and calls on the Government of Nigeria to better protect civilians.

This past Saturday, an armed opposition group violently attacked farmers from the village of Zabarmari, Jere local government area in Borno state, who were working in a rice field. At least 43 civilians were killed, with some reports citing more than 100 deaths. Many farmers were beheaded and others are still reported missing – including several women.

This massacre is only the latest in a string of gruesome attacks by armed opposition groups on civilians. In February, at least 30 civilians were killed and more abducted in a violent attack targeting travelers stopped in Auno town along a key highway leading to Borno’s capital, Maiduguri. In June, an armed opposition group killed at least 80 people in the Gubio area of Borno state. Just days later, roughly 40 civilians were killed by armed opposition groups in two attacks in the Monguno and Nganzai local government areas.

“Armed opposition groups must immediately end these brutal and indiscriminate attacks on civilians. The Government of Nigeria has a responsibility to protect its citizens. Whether in transit or at work around their homes, civilians residing in more rural areas have increasingly been the target of ruthless attacks by armed opposition groups and must be better protected to prevent the abhorrent violence that took place this Saturday,” says CIVIC Executive Director, Federico Borello. “For over a decade, civilians have continued to bear the brunt of this conflict in Northeast Nigeria. They are ready to get back to a sense of normalcy, which will only be possible when they can go about their livelihoods safely.”

CIVIC urges the Government of Nigeria to scale up the security patrols it provides to civilians to enable them to farm and carry out other livelihood related activities.  Such actions will help improve the trust between civilians and the government during this critical time. We also call on all parties to the conflict in Nigeria to refrain from the intentional targeting of civilians and take all actions necessary to prevent and mitigate civilian harm.