By OUR REPORTERS
The last may not have been heard about the 43 ‘farmers’ killed on rice field in a Borno village last Saturday as, feelers from the North East geopolitical zone have identified the Boko Haram victims as members of the terrorist group.
It will be recalled that Boko Haram, in a release, has claimed responsibility for the massacre described nationally and internationally as one of the worst ever in ant terrorist afflicted situation.
The DEFENDER, a versatile and respected fact-based online newspapers in Nigeria, has his tentacle spread across Northern Nigeria in the last five days during when one of its members stumbled over an audio which gave yet to be disputed revelations to show that, contrary to the belief that victims of Boko Haram attack last Saturday in Borno were rice farmers, they were in truth informants and logistics suppliers to the insurgents.
Although this online newspaper has played little attention to whether or not the scene of crime was actually Zarbamari that is a town in the North-East Nigerian state of Borno, what has continued to be ‘unputdownable’ in our investigative discoveries is fact that the victims were slain because Boko Haram insurgents thought they sold out on members caught and neutralised by troops a day before to the Army being, according to the audio, those who escaped the military fire power saw the slain with the soldiers.
The recent attack on the acclaimed farmers had elicited divergence of opinions with members of opposition and some Nigerians, who believe that the government of Muhammadu Buhari and its security agencies have not done enough about insecurity, calling for the President to sack his service chiefs among other demands.
This also saw reigns of condemnations from all spheres of life, from within and outside the country.
In a bid to show concern about the deaths, Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, on Thursday reportedly also announced the disbursement of N600,000 to family members of each of the slain farmers, while North East Governors donated N20 million and North East Development Commission (NEDC) gave N5 million to the families.
But the story changed when the audio started flying via the social media and some of our sources so far said some residents aid terrorists in the North East communities by serving as informants to them about movement of military troops.
To coroborate the audio claims, Mallam Kabiru Zanna, a local of Zarbamari, was also reported by an online newspaper (not The DEFENDER) earlier on Friday, to have said that those affected were mainly collaborators of Boko Haram who hailed from North West and not farmers.
He is believed to be the owner of the voice in the audio which The DEFENDER has also sent across to military and intelligence agencies for analysis.
He said, “The people that were killed were logistics suppliers and collaborators with Boko Haram. They supply them food and fuel. They also help the insurgents in selling rustled cows”, he said.
Zanna, who spoke in Hausa language, also gave details of what transpired on the fateful Saturday and how the transaction between the insurgents and their erstwhile collaborators went awry.
“Last week, these same people were on their way to meeting the insurgents for business when they were accosted by soldiers and after the soldiers couldn’t find anything on them they let them go.
“Meanwhile, the insurgents, who were waiting, saw them with the troops who later killed 5 of them after an ambush, so the insurgents accused those guys of providing Intel to the soldiers. This is the main reason why the terrorists began killing them.
“The insurgents called them to meet on Thursday but they said they wouldn’t be able to make it until Saturday. They agreed to meet early morning 5:00am on that day. They even had their morning prayers there.
“From there, the insurgents began to tell them about those guys who used to supply them food, who also betrayed them by providing Intel to the troops.
“Normally if there are betrayers in a town the entire community would pay the price for such acts. At that moment, the insurgents ordered that everyone be tied. They instructed that no gun should be fired in other not to attract troops.
“That was exactly what happened. Those people mostly are collaborators of the terrorists”, he added.
Zanna, who has been keeping tabs with activities of Boko Haram in the state, said, though some that were killed were innocent, “but very few of them. I swear most of them are traders with the insurgents. None of them is a rice farmer, they are all in trade with the insurgents”.
When contacted on phone, a Media Aide to Governor Babagana Umar Zulum, Mr. Ahidjo Abdu Likita, confirmed the revelation.
“Yes, it has been confirmed that the victims slaughtered were agents of Boko Haram”, he told our correspondent on phone, adding that, further investigation was being carried to reveal more.
When asked why the Governor went ahead to disburse money to perceived family members of the victims, since they were collaborators, Likita said, “the Governor didn’t know the reality of the scenario till today”.
He said, “everybody was thinking it was the real people of Zabarmari village” until the information got to the Governor this morning.