U.S. officials as well as terrorism experts have said that a Boko Haram assault that occurred earlier this week may have left as many as 2,000 civilians dead.
The attack, which began in the small city of Baga and spread to other nearby towns, caused many survivors to flee into the nearby waters of Lake Chad, where some were found dead as a result of drowning, a local government official said. He also indicated that some had been menaced by hippos while others were marooned on small islands. One resident described to BBC how gunshots punctured the early morning calm when the assault began.
They came through the north, the west and from the southern part of the town because the eastern part is only water […] So, when we [went] toward the western part, we saw heavily armed Boko Haram men coming toward us.
Musa Alhaji Bukar, the District leader where the assault took place, told the BBC that 2,000 residents from the city of Baga and 16 other towns had been killed by the radical Islamist terror group that is Boko Haram. He went onto say that the city of Baga was now “virtually nonexistent,” as many inhabitants had been slaughtered and the city burned. The militants also razed other communities beyond Baga, as local senator Ahmed Zanna indicated over the telephone in an interview with NBC News on Thursday when he said the the towns were “just gone, burned down.”
These towns are just gone, burned down […] The whole area is covered in bodies.
Zenna indicated that over 2,000 people were unaccounted for and that residents who had fled the slaughter had reported that the slaughter had been going on since Saturday when Boko Haram overran a nearby military base.
NBC News reported that “American experts say such reports are credible and that official from Nigeria’s central government, who have put the body count in the hundreds, are prone to underestimating the death tolls.” The report also indicated that U.S. counter-terrorism official had said that the tally of 2,000 deaths as a result of the massacre “may not be that far off.” The report went onto say that their three sources had “cautioned that getting an accurate death total was nearly impossible.” The U.S. counter-terrorism official said that the militants had gone door-to-door, killing families, and then strategically placing improvised explosive devices in the streets in order to funnel survivors into areas where their firing squads, who were already in position, could mow them down with automatic weapons.
They were mowed down.
Afterwards, the villages were set ablaze as the militants moved on to other areas where they repeated this process of slaughtering and razing, BBC reported.
An NBC News report called the coordinate attack on the city and its nearby towns “brutal even for a terror group with a history of mass killings.