In some of the worst violence to hit Nigeria since the extremist group, Boko Haram raided villages, kidnapped hundreds, and killed many more, the militant group has hit the town of Baga with a new round of assaults.
A local Nigerian senator says at least 2,000 are missing after Boko Haram militants raided more than 10 towns in Nigeria just this week. Ahmed Zanna, senator for Borno state, says between 10 and 20 other villages have also been overrun. Zanna tells NBC News “the whole area is covered in bodies.”
Senior government official Musa Alhaji Bukar told BBC News 2,000 people were killed in the rampages.
Soldiers had fled over the weekend when the Sunni jihadist group overran a nearby army base.
At least 100 people were killed when the militants first took over the town on the edge of Lake Chad, the district head Abba Hassan said on Thursday.
“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 Borno state capital Maiduguri.
The militants have been waging an insurgency to establish an Islamic state in the country’s northeast for five years. The number and scale of attacks rose sharply last year, after the government imposed emergency rule on the three worst-hit states.
Reuters TV footage showed scores of civilians waiting on sandy streets on the outskirts of Baga to catch buses out of town. Many carried the few possessions they had salvaged, such as bags of clothes and rolled up mattresses.
Boko Haram has taken over or rendered ungovernable swathes of the northeast, especially Borno state.
(Reuters reporting by Ardo Abdullah and Isaac Abrak; Writing by Julia Payne; Editing by Tim Cocks and Andrew Roche)
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