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Monday, 12 January 2015

Boko Haram's 'Deadliest Massacre': 2,000 Feared Dead in Baga, Nigeria


baga, nigeria
Amnesty International calls the killings ‘a disturbing and bloody escalation’ and a local defence group says its fighters have given up trying to count the bodies
Hundreds of bodies – too many to count – remain strewn in the bush in Nigeria from an Islamic extremist attack that Amnesty International described as the “deadliest massacre” in the history of Boko Haram.
Fighting continued on Friday around Baga, a town on the border with Chad where insurgents seized a key military base on 3 January andattacked again on Wednesday.
“Security forces have responded rapidly, and have deployed significant military assets and conducted air strikes against militant targets,” said a government spokesman.
District head Baba Abba Hassan said most victims are children, women and elderly people who could not run fast enough when insurgents drove into Baga, firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on town residents.
“The human carnage perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists in Baga was enormous,” Muhammad Abba Gava, a spokesman for poorly armed civilians in a defence group that fights Boko Haram, told the Associated Press.
He said the civilian fighters gave up on trying to count all the bodies. “No one could attend to the corpses and even the seriously injured ones who may have died by now,” Gava said.
An Amnesty International statement said there are reports the town was razed and as many as 2,000 people killed.
If true, “this marks a disturbing and bloody escalation of Boko Haram’s ongoing onslaught,” said Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International.
The previous bloodiest day in the uprising involved soldiers gunning down unarmed detainees freed in a 14 March 2014 attack on Giwa military barracks in Maiduguri city. Amnesty said then that satellite imagery indicated more than 600 people were killed that day.
The attacks come five weeks away from presidential elections which are likely to trigger even more bloodshed. Already under a state of emergency, the three north-eastern states worst hit by Boko Haram asked the central government for more troops earlier this week. The government has said voting will take place across Borno state although the worsening insecurity means few international observers are likely to get clearance to oversee voting in an area that is traditionally opposition-supporting.
Around 1.5 million people have been displaced by the violence, many of whom will not be able to vote in the polls under Nigeria’s current electoral laws.
Source: The Guardian
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