*Death Toll Rises To 2000 In Baga, 14 Female Soldiers Killed
Indications are rife that the Boko Haram militants are now in a good stead to take more territories in the north-east zone of Nigeria with the capture of Baga in Borno State, having opened up a major arms supply route to Niger and Chad.
Baga is considered very strategic to Boko Haram operations being a border town to the two neighbouring countries, whereas Baga is specifically separated from Niger by a major lake.
Some locals disclosed that the occupation of Baga by the insurgents was the reason they now have the confidence to match unto Damaturu, Yobe State capital where they attacked last night.
The Militaray authorities had recently announced the withdrawal of both Niger and Chad from the multinational forces in Borno state, a development said to have embolden the insurgents to launch fresh attacks in Borno and Yobe state.
Already, Boko Haram having over powered Nigerian soldiers to take Baga on Friday had reportedly killed over 2000.
Some soldiers who called the Newspot desk disclosed that more than 100 of their colleagues lost their lives during the attack on Baga.
Several soldiers had been declared missing after they were chased away from the battle field in Baga, even as the number of those who died
One of them said out of 20 female soldiers deployed in the operation, 14 were killed by Boko Haram during battle.
More than 30,000 people in the town and in the neighbourhood had equally fled into bushes for fear of dear lives.
The Amnesty International has described the attack on Baga and surrounding towns as Boko Haram’s deadliest act,”
According to CNN, the Islamist militants sprayed bullets as they stormed in trucks and armored vehicles, quoting local authorities.
“When they arrived, they unloaded motorcycles and pursued residents who fled into the bush, firing indiscriminately”, said Baba Abba Hassan, a local district head.
Local officials reported death tolls ranging from hundreds to as many as 2,000 people.
“Dead bodies litter the bushes in the area and it is still not safe to go and pick them (up) for burial,” said Musa Bukar, the chairman of the local government where Baga is located.
“Some people who hid in their homes were burned alive.”
Raid lasted for days
During the raid that started January 3, hundreds of gunmen seized the town of Baga and neighboring villages, as well as a multinational military base.
Attacks started at dawn and continued throughout last weekend, according to residents.
Though local officials gave conflicting death tolls, they agreed on the massive number of fatalities.
More than 2,000 people were killed in attacks on 16 villages, Bukar said. He could not explain how he arrived at that toll.
But the local district head said hundreds of people had been killed, not thousands. The actual toll will be known after a headcount of households is complete, Hassan said.
An offensive is underway to reclaim the areas from the militants, according to Mike Omeri, a government spokesman.