At least 40 farmers and fisherman in Nigeria were killed in an attack that officials suspect was the work of the Islamic militant group Boko Haram. The attack occurred as the victims were harvesting crops on Saturday.
According to an elected member of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Ahmed Satomi, the attack seemed to be motivated by an event that happened the previous day.
"A lone gunman, who was a member of Boko Haram, came to harass the farmers by ordering them to give him money and also cook for him," Satomi said. "While he was waiting for the food to be cooked, the farmers seized the moment he stepped into the toilet to snatch his rifle and tied him up.
They later handed him over to the security. But sadly, the security forces did not protect the courageous farmers. And in reprisal for daring them, the Boko Haram mobilized and came to attack them on their farms."
Local officials say that the death toll could climb to as many as 60.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was informed of the killings and issued a statement of condolence.
"I condemn the killing of our hardworking farmers by terrorists in Borno State," Buhari said. "The entire country is hurt by these senseless killings. My thoughts are with their families in this time of grief."
In addition to the murders, the terrorists also burned the rice fields of their victims before leaving the scene.