As many as 2,000 people were killed in what is being called the deadliest massacre to be carried out by Boko Haram. The terrorist group invaded and torched the Nigerian town of Baga Wednesday (Jan. 7), after overthrowing a military base last weekend.
“They [Boko Haram] burnt to the ground all the 16 towns and villages, including Baga, Doron-Baga, Mile 4, Mile 3, Kauyen Kuros and Bunduram,” government spokesman, Musa Bukar said.
Many of the victims killed were women, children and the elderly, unable to run fast enough. Survivors clamored into lake Chad, some drowning, while others sought refuge on neighboring islands where they remain stranded.
Military officials fought back against the Islamic militants, but eventually abandoned the battle leaving residents on their own.
“Security forces have responded rapidly, and have deployed significant military assets and conducted airstrikes against militant targets,” government spokesperson Mike Omeri said in a statement today.
While official death tolls have yet to be tallied, the figures are expected to be on par with estimates. “The human carnage perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists in Baga was enormous,” noted Muhammad Abba Gava, the president of a defense group for civilians fighting against Boko Haram. “No one could attend to the corpses and even the seriously injured ones who may have died by now.”
Baga was the last of the towns under government control in Boko Haram’s takeover of northern Nigeria’s Borno state. The Islamic extremist group, led by Abubakar Shekhau, has strengthened its attacks in recent months, and now controls areas bordering Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.