The Boko Haram Islamists have beheaded six farmers from the violence-torn northeastern part of Nigeria. The terrorists also forced the eldest one among the farmers to watch the slaughter and told him to convey their message to the families of the victims.

All the farmers were working with a plantation located outside the city of Maiduguri, which has witnessed bloody conflict in recent months.

Nigeria's Boko Haram has been blamed for more than 20,000 deaths and forced displacement of 2.6 million people ever since they launched an armed insurgency in 2009. Though the Nigerian government insists the military campaign against Boko Haram militants have been successful and they have been flushed out of their safe havens, pockets of violence continue to batter the region.

In the latest episode which took place on Sunday, 19 November, Islamists on motorbike raided a farm and abducted seven farmers to murder them near a bush. Conflicting reports suggest two of them were shot by the attackers before all six of them were decapitated.

"My brother was working the farm together with other farmers. They were accosted by the insurgents when they went to fetch water at a river," Jiddah Ahmad, brother of one of the slain farmers, told a local daily. The insurgents shot my brother before beheading him and beheaded another farmer on the same spot while an old farmer was set free."

Though the Boko Haram insurgents rarely claim responsibilities for this kind of attacks, it bears a striking resemblance to their techniques in launching attacks in rural parts. The Nigerian military is yet to make an official statement on the ambush.

Boko Haram is a Sunni Islamist group which aspires to impose a strict form of Sharia law in Nigeria but they have been largely driven out of territories with the help of regional countries. Yet, the remaining militants still pose significant security challenges to the Nigerian forces.

Niger Boko Haram attack
Nigerian forces' military campaign with the help of regional allies claimed to be successful against Boko Haram but the Islamists still launch frequent attacks Reuters file photo