Horrific reports are coming out of Nigeria about a Boko Haram attack on the town of Baga in Borno State following their seizure of a neighboring military base on Saturday.
BBC is reporting:
Nigeria’s militant Islamists have carried out a second attack on the key north-eastern town of Baga, an official has told the BBC.
Boko Haram fighters burnt down almost the entire town on Wednesday, after over-running a military base on Saturday, Musa Alhaji Bukar said.
Bodies lay strewn on Baga’s streets, amid fears that some 2,000 people had been killed in the raids, he added.
Boko Haram launched a military campaign in 2009 to create an Islamic state.
It has taken control of many towns and villages in north-eastern Nigeria in the last year.
The conflict has displaced at least 1.5 million people, while more than 2,000 were killed last year.
Earlier today Bridget Johnson reported here at PJ Media about a message posted by Boko Haram on Monday threatening Cameroon.
Last month I also reported on Boko Haram’s escalating attacks, which now threaten the entire country on the verge of presidential elections.
The loss of life in Baga and Boko Haram’s control over 70 percent of Borno State will undoubtedly require greater action by the Nigerian government and possibly greater intervention from neighboring Chad and Cameroon.
I will update this post as new information becomes available.
More news reports are coming out of Nigeria regarding the Boko Haram attack on the city of Baga and surrounding areas in Borno State.
AFP is reporting that 16 villages have been razed to the ground and tens of thousands displaced:
Boko Haram razed at least 16 towns and villages in a renewed assault after capturing a key military base in restive northeast Nigeria at the weekend, local officials said on Thursday.
Heavy casualties were feared in the attacks on Wednesday in the remote north of Borno state, according to local sources, but there was no independent corroboration of the figures cited.
Musa Bukar, head of the Kukawa local government area, said: “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.”
Abubakar Gamandi, head of Borno’s fish traders union and a Baga native, also confirmed the attacks, adding that hundreds of people who fled were trapped on islands on Lake Chad.
NBC News reports:
More than 2,000 people are unaccounted for after radical Islamist sect Boko Haram torched more than 10 towns and villages in Nigeria, a local lawmaker told NBC News. Ahmed Zanna, a senator for Borno state where the attack happened, said the militants razed the town of Baga as well as “10-to-20″ other communities in the country’s rural northeast over the past five days. “These towns are just gone, burned down,” he told NBC News via telephone. “The whole area is covered in bodies.”
Zanna said he had spoken to residents who fled the towns. They reported that the spree had been ongoing since Boko Haram overran a nearby military base Saturday. During the days-long assault, the militants chased people out of Baga before returning to kill those left and torch the buildings to the ground, according to survivors who contacted Zanna. Some of those who survived fled on foot the 100 miles south to Maidurguri.
The government’s response to this massacre will be worth watching. Presidential elections are scheduled for Feb. 14th, and criticism of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan is mounting. Thus, Jonathan’s government will be eager to suppress information about this attack.
Boko Haram’s response will need to be followed as well. After routing Nigerian government forces at the military base outside of Baga, they are now in effective control of Borno State, which borders Niger, Chad and Cameroon.