Attackers have killed dozens of farmers working in rice fields in northeastern Nigeria, authorities said.
The attackers tied up the agricultural workers and slit their throats in the village of Koshobe, near Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” Edward Kallon said in a statement after initial count indicated 43 and then at least 70 dead from Saturday’s massacre by suspected 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 victims were labourers from Sokoto state in northwest Nigeria, roughly 1,000km away, who had travelled to the northeast to find work, said another militiaman, Ibrahim Liman, who gave the same toll.
“There were 60 farmers who were contracted to harvest paddy in the rice fields. Forty-three were slaughtered, with six injured,” Liman told AFP.
More bodies were reportedly found later – but the exact number of the victims was not immediately known.
Eight others were missing, presumed to have been kidnapped by the attackers, he said.
A search by the authorities for the attackers has been launched.
This is one of the worst attacks in recent months in a region where the Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa insurgent groups are active.
No-one has yet claimed responsibility.
“I condemn the killing of our hard-working farmers by terrorists in Borno state. The entire country is hurt by these senseless killings. My thoughts are with their families in this time of grief. May their souls rest in peace,” said President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Buhari also described “the terrorist killings as insane”, according to his spokesman Garba Shehu.
Last month, Boko Haram fighters killed 22 farmers working on their irrigation fields near Maiduguri in two separate incidents.
Boko Haram and ISWAP have increasingly targeted loggers, herders and fishermen in their violent campaign, accusing them of spying and passing information to the military and the local militia fighting them.