Armed ViolenceNews

Zabarmari Massacre Survivor Tells His Horrifying Story

One of the survivors of the Zabarmari massacre in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria, told HumAngle four Boko Haram fighters were the first group to accost and interrogate them.

The survivor who did not want to be named for his safety revealed that the fighters asked them where they were from and where they were heading.

“We are from Sokoto (in northwest Nigeria), in town for work and heading to Zabarmari town to restock food supply,” he said they told the terrorists.

He added that the fighters continued to ask them more questions, including what they were going to do in Zabarmari and when they were returning.

The migrant farmers, the only known survivor of the massacre, further said they were then told to give the fighters money and phones but they did not have such items on them.

They allowed them to leave after the series of questions and answers.

He said while on their way, they suddenly saw a bigger group of fighters.

According to him, this group sent three fighters towards them and they initially played deaf to their calls.

When they turned to answer the call, the fighters asked questions on their loads, destination and origin.

“They asked us to open our bags which contained sleeping materials, clothes, blankets and rubber boots for working on marshy farmlands,” he said.

The fighters collected the materials and subsequently asked for money and phones like the previous group, he said.

They searched them individually and did not find cash or phones.

According to the survivor, the questioning was in Hausa which was then translated to Kanuri for the group leader.

The fighters had guns and knives on them, he added.

He narrated that while leaving,  they called them back and said they did not trust one of them.

“This individual was searched again before we were allowed to leave.”

But the group warned them not to speak about whatever they would see in front.

“They will meet them again if they talk about it,” the terrorists warned.

He said they later saw two slaughtered bodies and got terrified.

The migrant farmers were based in Zabarmari but working on farmlands in the deserted village of Koshebe.

Koshebe was a farming village for migrants and locals but the insecurity in the area displaced the locals.

HumAngle on Saturday reported the gruesome massacre of farmers in Zabarmari general area.

The attackers tied and slaughtered their victims and also burnt the farm they were cultivating. On Sunday, 43 victims of the massacre were buried with the state governor Babagana Zulum present

While on Monday, a search and recovery party comprising troops and operatives of the Civilian Joint Task Force discovered at least 35 decomposing and decapitated bodies.

HumAngle was informed that dozens of survivors have either returned to Zabarmari or Maiduguri after wandering in the bush for several days.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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