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Baga attack ‘deadliest in Boko Haram’s history’

Baga attack ‘deadliest in Boko Haram’s history’
January 09
19:27 2015

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has described the attack on Baga town in Borno state as the deadliest in the history of attacks by the Boko Haram.

On Sunday, the terror group besieged Baga town, wresting it from the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) comprising soldiers from Nigeria, Chad and Niger, after a long gun duel.

The soldiers from Chad and Niger have since pulled out of the town following the attack.

Reports say that about 2000 people have been killed in the town, but the Nigerian government has been unable to give the figures of casualties, instead insisting that the “situation is improving”.

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Baga, which is the headquarters of MJTF, was attacked again on Wednesday, the sect reportedly razing the town in its second attack.

“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,” Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International, said.

“If reports that the town was largely razed to the ground and that hundreds or even as many as 2,000 civilians were killed are true, this marks a disturbing and bloody escalation of Boko Haram’s ongoing onslaught against the civilian population.

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“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.”

Amnesty International’s assessment of the Baga raid came on the same day Mike Omeri, coordinator of the national information centre,assured the public that Nigerian troops were still battling to rid the town of the insurgents,awhome he said succedded in displacing about 2000 residents.

“There has been intense fighting between security forces and Boko Haram in some parts of Borno state, especially Baga, over recent days. Since the first attack last weekend on Baga, security forces have been actively pursuing the militants,” Omeri said.

“On Wednesday, a group of militants conducted a second terrorist attack on the area, leaving casualties and destroying property. Security forces have responded rapidly, and have deployed significant military assets and conducted airstrikes against militant targets. We will provide further details as we are able to release information.

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He described the attacks as “brutal and barbaric” from a group that represents none of the people of Nigeria or any of their religions.

“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 added.

“The federal government’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is providing comprehensive humanitarian support to 2000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Baga at its secure facility, the Teacher’s Village Camp.

“NEMA, in partnership with the Borno state government, International Committee of the Red Cross and the Nigerian Red Cross Society, have pre-positioned humanitarian supplies and are ready to send specialist humanitarian professionals to Baga to provide critical aid to the area’s residents once the security situation permits.

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“The government of Nigeria will not rest until Boko Haram is completely dismantled. The government values every town, every community and every Nigerian equally. No inch of Nigerian soil will remain in the hands of these terrorists.”

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