Boko Haram killed 110 people in an attack on a village in north-east Nigeria, according to the UN humanitarian coordinator in the country.

“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” Edward Kallon said in a statement after initial tolls had indicated the number of dead at 43 then 70 from the massacre on Saturday by Boko Haram fighters.

“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year,” Kallon said, adding: “I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice.”

The attack took place in the village of Koshobe near one of the largest towns in the area, Maiduguri, with attackers targeting farmers on rice fields. The Borno state governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, attended the burial on Sunday in the nearby village in Zabarmari of 43 bodies recovered on Saturday, saying the death toll could rise after search operations resumed.

The assailants tied up the farmers and slit their throats according to a pro-government anti-jihadist militia. The victims were among laborers from Sokoto state in north-west Nigeria, slight 1,000km away, who had traveled to the region (in the north-east) to find work, it said.

Kallon cited “reports that several women may have been kidnapped”, and called for their immediate release and return to safety.

The Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, condemned the attack, saying: “The entire country has been wounded by these senseless killings.”

Six others were wounded in the attack and eight remained missing as of Saturday.

The attacks took place as voters went to the polls in long-delayed local elections in Borno state. The polls had been repeatedly postponed because of an increase in attacks by Boko Haram and a rival dissident faction, ISWAP.

The two groups have been blamed for increasing attacks on loggers, farmers and fishermen, whom they accuse of spying for the army and pro-government militias.

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