Gunmen suspected of being Boko Haram jihadists shot dead on Thursday seven men working on a farm in northeast Nigeria’s Adamawa state, where at least 50 people were killed at a mosque this week, the farm’s owner told AFP.
The gunmen disguised as security personnel attacked the men around 3:00 am (0200 GMT) while they were sleeping at a farm in the village of Sabon Gari in the Gombi district. The victims were shot at close range with their hands tied behind their backs.
“The gunmen killed seven of the eight men who went to work on my farm. Only one escaped,” said farmer owner Yakubu Sarkin-Baka, also head of the local hunters’ union.
The victims were all members of the hunters union in Gombi, 140 kilometres (85 miles) from the state capital Yola, who went to Sarkin-Baka’s farm earlier in the day to harvest corn and decided to stay the night and finish the work the following morning, he said.
“They were found with their hands tied behind their back and bullet holes in their heads,” Sarkin-Baka said.
“The only survivor told us they mistook the attackers for security men.”
Sarkin-Baka declined to say who was behind the attack but an uncle of one of the victims put the blame on Boko Haram jihadists.
“It is clearly the work of Boko Haram on a revenge mission,” Usman Zakari said. “No one would shoot dead seven people in such a cruel manner except Boko Haram.”
He said Sarkin-Baka and his group of hunters had been effectively fighting Boko Haram alongside the Nigerian military which prevented the jihadists from establishing a foothold in the area.
In November 2014 Boko Haram fighters briefly seized Gombi but were repelled by the military with the aid of local hunters from the town.
The Islamists made a failed attempt to retake the town two months later but were pushed back by troops and hunters who launched an extensive manhunt and forced Boko Haram to pull out of the area.
On Tuesday at least 50 worshippers were killed when a teenage suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque during morning prayers in the town of Mubi, 59 kilometres away.
In January last year a suicide attack on a grain market in Gombi, also blamed on Boko Haram, left eight people dead.
Boko Haram was also suspected in that attack. The Islamist militants have been waging an insurgency in northern Nigeria since 2009 which has left at least 20,000 people dead and more than 2.6 million others homeless.