Boko Haram Kills Dozens in Fresh Raids in Nigerian Town
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Boko Haram militants have killed dozens of people and burned down homes in the northeast Nigerian town of Baga in the past two days, in a second killing spree since seizing control there at the weekend.
Two locals said the insurgents began shooting indiscriminately and burning buildings on Tuesday evening in raids on the civilian population that carried on into Wednesday.
"I escaped with my family in the car after seeing how Boko Haram was killing people ... I saw bodies in the street. Children and women, some were crying for help," Mohamed Bukar told Reuters after fleeing to the state capital Maiduguri.
The insurgency killed more than 10,000 people last year, according to a count by the Council on Foreign Relations in November. It is seen as the gravest threat to Nigeria, Africa's biggest economy, and a headache for President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of an election on Feb. 14.
Soldiers fled Baga over the weekend when the terrorist group overran a nearby army base, Reuters reported.
The district head of Baga, Abba Hassan, said on Thursday that at least 100 people were killed when the group first took over the town on the edge of Lake Chad.
Abubakar Gulama, who escaped without his family to Monguno, 40 km (25 miles) away, said he crossed "many dead bodies on the ground" and that "the whole town was on fire".
In the last week, around 2,000 Nigerians and 500 Chadians have fled Boko Haram attacks in Chad's Lake region, Chadian Prime Minister Kalzeubet Pahimi said on Wednesday.
A source at a rights group in Maiduguri said some 10 women who snuck out of Baga a few days after the first attack had reported that their daughters aged 10-20 had been kidnapped.
Boko Haram has taken over or rendered ungovernable swathes of the northeast, especially Borno state where Baga is located. It has also launched attacks in Chad and Cameroon, while Chad has appealed for international aid to support the refugees coming across its border.
The militants are still holding in captivity more than 200 schoolgirls they abducted from their school in Chibok in Borno state last April.