Hundreds of corpses still litter the streets of Baga, a town in the violence-plagued northeast state of Borno, after fighters belonging to the dreaded Islamist group Boko Haram carried out one of their most gruesome assaults in several years, security agents and fleeing residents have told SaharaReporters.
“Over ten thousand civilians have fled their homes with nothing but their tired legs,” one resident who escaped told our correspondent.
A security source added that the bodies of hundreds of slain residents still lay in the open streets unburied. “Nobody can bury them now,” said the source, adding that the town was now completely overrun by the Islamist insurgents.
Boko Haram struck last Saturday at Baga town in Kukawa local government area of Borno State, killing hundreds of civilians and forcing more than ten thousand residents to flee to neighboring countries. The insurgents also dislodged troops from a military base, leaving the town undefended and deserted.
“The terrorists destroyed hundreds of houses in Baga,” said a security source. According to him, the insurgents “came with dozens of vehicles and first attacked the location of the multi-national Joint Task Force.”
Umaru Ali, a fleeing resident, said the abandoned corpses included the bodies of children and elderly men and women. He added that many people were killed after they fled into the bushes. “They killed hundreds, including women and children,” he said, weeping.
Meanwhile, a government official in Borno State said the government of neighboring Chad had disclosed that close to 10,000 refugees had crossed into Chad. Some displaced people also fled to other neighboring countries, the source said. In addition, more than 3, 000 fleeing Baga residents arrived in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Thursday evening.
Governor Kashim Shettima had ordered that a column of school buses be sent towards Baga road to assist scores of other displaced people still trekking towards Maiduguri. The displaced people who have reached the state capital are being camped at a newly completed housing estate built for teachers.
In a series of daring attacks that began before the New Year, Boko Haram seems determined to expand its stronghold in the northeast states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. All three states have been besieged by a brutal insurgency that has lasted more than five years.
The Islamist group has seized numerous towns and small communities in the three states, and declared a supposed Caliphate. The group has menaced the Nigerian border town of Gamboru/Ngala in Borno and Buni Yadi in neighboring Yobe State.