Boko Haram Baga attack: Photos reveal scale of devastation
Amnesty International released today a satellite image of the magnitude of the attacks of the militant group Boko Haram on the towns of Baga and Doron Baga, Nigeria.
The Sunni Muslim jihadist group have been establishing their territory in the northeast of Nigeria and is reported to be using child suicide bombers to attack the most populated parts of cities and towns like Potiskum and Maiduguri in Yobe State. The group brought further terror to other parts of the region by massacring an estimated 2,000 people in Baga, part of Borno State.
Baga and Doron Baga, which are only 2.5 kilometers apart, suffered a devastating attack from the militant group at the start of the year, starting January 3.
According to Amnesty International's report, Baga was estimated to have 620 structures damaged or destroyed by fire.
In Doron Baga, an estimated 3,100 structures were damaged or destroyed by fire. Other neighbouring towns were also attacked rendering an estimated total of over 3,700 structures that were damaged and destroyed.
"These detailed images show devastation of catastrophic proportions in two towns, one of which was almost wiped off the map in the space of four days," said Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International.
"Of all Boko Haram assaults analysed by Amnesty International, this is the largest and most destructive yet. It represents a deliberate attack on civilians whose homes, clinics and schools are now burnt out ruins."
According to the satellite images taken January 2, the fishing boats along the shoreline were not in the photos taken last January 7. It is understood that locals fled for their safety by boat across Lake Chad and tried to cross the border to Chad and other parts of Nigeria including Maiduguri city, Amnesty International reports.
Amnesty International further reports that there are already hundreds and thousands of people who are seeking refuge and the host communities and government authorities have already stretched their capacity.
The human rights group appealed to the government of Nigeria and Chad to provide these refugees adequate assistance and take drastic measures to regain territory on the northeast and the ensure safety of the civilians.
"We are currently working to find out more details of what happened during the attack on Baga and the surrounding area," said Eyre.
"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."