The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) says troops on the ground counted 43 corpses after Boko Haram terrorists attacked farmers in the Zabarmari area of Borno State on Saturday.
The United Nations had on Sunday reported that 110 civilians were killed. The terrorists were reported to have tied up the farmers, who were working on rice fields, before slitting their throats.
“We have also received reports that several women may have been kidnapped. I call for their immediate release and return to safety,” the UN Resident Coordinator, Edward Kallon said in a statement.
“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice.”
But responding on Monday morning, Defence spokesman, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, faulted the UN report, saying the troops, together with the locals, counted 43 bodies.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme, Enenche said he had to respond because the report came from an identified source.
“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),”
“They (troops) 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.
“As at 2pm yesterday (Sunday), I called them and they got back to me at about 7pm yesterday, still counting, looking if they will recover (more corpses). We call it Exploitation after Action Review.”
The spokesman added that the military is still searching for casualties.
“Probably we may count up to the figure he gave in the future,” Enenche said.
“But as it is, up till the time I came here, what we have counted with the locals is still 43. And we are hoping that we don’t get beyond that. So that’s the real situation.”