Baga Genocide: Deadliest Boko Haram Attack – Amnesty International

Baga Genocide: Deadliest Boko Haram Attack – Amnesty International

Amnesty International has declared the genocidal attacks on Baga, Borno State, by the Boko Haram terrorist  sect as the deadliest and called on the federal government to put in place measures to protect civilians in the affected areas.

Researcher for AI, Daniel Eyre on Friday 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 2000 civilians were killed are true, this marks a disturbing and bloody escalation of Boko Haram’s ongoing onslaught against the civilian population.”

He said AI was working to find out more details of what happened during the attack on Baga and the surrounding area.

According to him, this attack reiterates the urgent need for Boko Haram to stop the senseless killing of innocent people.

Boko Haram militants reportedly attacked Baga and surrounding towns twice in the last eight days.

In the attack of last Sunday, the military base in the town was routed by the insurgents leading to soldiers abandoning newly acquired military weapons.

Speaking to journalists in Maiduguri, Abba Yunus, a member of the youth vigilante group in the town said: “The militant which had on Saturday taken over the military base in the town, as if they were not satisfied with their destruction of the town on Wednesday launched another attack on it.”

Yunus claimed that the new set of people fleeing the town “told the members of the youth vigilante that the insurgents attacked the town again and torched houses and killed countless civilians who were helpless.”

He said: “We were told by those that had to flee into Maiduguri through the bushes that many corpses were on the streets, many of which have started decomposing.”

A man who identified himself as Musa Alhaji Bukar, a senior government official, had told the BBC that Boko Haram fighters burnt down almost the entire town on Wednesday, after over-running a military base on Saturday.

Bukar said bodies lay strewn on Baga’s streets, amid fears that some 2,000 people had been killed in the raids.

Earlier on Monday, Senator Maina Maaji Lawan, representing Borno North at the Senate said Boko Haram controlled 70 per cent of Borno State, which is worst-affected by the insurgency.

Bukar also said that fleeing residents told him that the town, which had a population of about 10,000, was now “virtually non-existent”.
However, the federal government said that it was working hard to ensure the full liberation of Baga town and neighbouring communities.

Coordinator of the National Information Centre (NIC) and Director General of National Orientation Agency, Mike Omeri, stated this while briefing journalists in Abuja.

He also said that government was reviewing the situation with regards to the fight against insurgency in order to improve logistics requirement and support for the security forces to enable the defeat of the terrorists.

He said officers were being trained and re-trained to up-grade their skills and capacity while increased surveillance, intelligence sharing and synergy are being enhanced.

According to him, consultation with security chiefs (serving and retired), traditional rulers and other critical stakeholders with a view to bringing their varied experiences to bear on the fight against the insurgency are on-going.

DHQ keeps mum on death figure…
In a related development, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday stated that it was not in a position to speak on number of civilian casualties as at this moment in response to claims by Amnesty International and other foreign media that over 2000 people died in the Baga attack.

The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade said that the onus is on the Amnesty International or any other group peddling such numbers to authenticate their claims, wondering how they arrived at such figures since they were not on ground.

“I am not in a position to confirm or deny those claims. Ask those who are making the claims to define their sources”, he said.

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