Free Press Journal

Latest Nigeria massacre deadliest by Boko Haram?


A screengrab taken from a video released by the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram shows their leader, Abubakar Shekau (C), who has voiced support for the extremist Sunni Islamic State (IS) militant group, which has taken over large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Abuja: Hundreds of bodies remain strewn in the bush in the Nigerian town of Baga after Boko Haram attacks that Amnesty International described as the “deadliest massacre” by the militant group, media reported Saturday.

Fighting, which started Wednesday, continued Friday in Baga, a town in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno on the border with Chad where Boko Haram fighters seized a key military base Jan 3 and attacked again Wednesday, Al Jazeera quoted Mike Omeri, a government spokesman, as saying.

“Security forces have responded rapidly, and have deployed significant military assets and conducted airstrikes against militant targets,” Omeri said in a statement.

According to another official most of the victims were children, women and elderly people who could not run fast enough when fighters drove into Baga and fired rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on town residents.

“The attack on Baga and surrounding towns, looks as if it could be Boko Haram’s deadliest act in a catalogue of increasingly heinous attacks carried out by the group,” Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International, said in a statement.

“If reports that the town was largely razed to the ground and that hundreds or even as many as two thousand civilians were killed are true, this marks a disturbing and bloody escalation of Boko Haram’s ongoing onslaught against the civilian population,” Eyre added.

Over 10,000 people were killed last year alone in Boko Haram violence, according to the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations.

More than a million people are displaced inside Nigeria and hundreds of thousands have fled across its borders into Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria.