Amnesty international says that Boko Haram could have killed up to 2,000 civilians in Baga, (North East Nigeria) after razing the town to the ground.
Baga was first attacked reportedly last January 3, and again last Wednesday. Most of the victims were women, children and elderly people who couldn’t run fast enough to escape from the Boko Haram fighters who were firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles.
The Nigerian government spokesman Mike Omeri confirmed that there have been intense fighting between Nigerian security forces and Boko Haram.
“On Wednesday, a group of militants conducted a second attack on the area, leaving casualties and destroying property,” he said
“The attack on Baga and surrounding towns, looks as if it could be Boko Haram’s deadliest act in a catalogue of increasingly heinous attacks carried out by the group. If reports that the town was largely razed to the ground and that hundreds or even as many as two thousand civilians were killed are true, this marks a disturbing and bloody escalation of Boko Haram’s ongoing onslaught against the civilian population,” said Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International.
“We are currently working to find out more details of what happened during the attack on Baga and the surrounding area. This attack reiterates the urgent need for Boko Haram to stop the senseless killing of civilians and for the Nigerian government to take measures to protect a population who live in constant fear of such attacks,” said Daniel Eyre.
Since 2009, Boko Haram has deliberately targeted civilians through raids and bomb attacks with attacks increasing in frequency and severity.
The effects on the civilian population have been devastating with
thousands killed and abducted and hundreds of thousands forced to leave their homes.
Evidence gathered by Amnesty International indicates that Boko Haram have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Nigerian government must investigate these violent abuses and ensure that those guilty of committing them are brought to justice, said Amnesty International.
On behalf of the Nigerian government, Mike Omeri said that “these brutal and barbaric attacks by Boko Haram represent none of the people of Nigeria and no religion. Our security forces will continue to pursue the perpetrators of these heinous acts. We will stop Boko Haram and we will bring to justice those responsible for the brutal violence being perpetrated against the people of Nigeria,” he said.