Unprecedented Horror in Nigeria’s Baga Massacre, New Reports Show

It has been more than a week since the massacre in northern Nigeria’s Borno State. The slayings, which human rights workers estimate left approximately 2,000 people dead, were part of a scorched earth campaign by Boko Haram, in which they razed nearly 16 towns and villages.

The North in Peril

Boko Haram has been attempting to create their own caliphate in line with that of the Islamic State. The town of Baga was a hold out to this prospect, hosting an army base of multinational troops and strong local opposition to the terrorist group. However, as reported by Care2, when it became clear that the troops were outnumbered, they fled their posts and left the citizens to the savagery of Boko Haram.

The timing couldn’t have been worse for Nigeria. Not only were the events in Baga overshadowed by the terrorist attacks in Paris, but the country’s own president has refused to acknowledge the carnage.

In an article with Foreign Policy, Sibohan O’Grady pointed out that while Goodluck Jonathan had condemned the Charlie Hedbo slayings, he had yet to even acknowledge the Baga Massacre. She explains that, “Jonathan, who has been widely criticized for his failure to defeat the group, is up for re-election on Feb. 14, when he will face Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim northerner running on a platform of increased security.”¯

While a government spokesman did discuss the attacks, he stated that casualties had not exceeded around 150 people, and called human rights reports “exaggerated.”

Eyewitness Accounts

What we know so far about the Baga Massacre is that it spared no one. Women, children, the elderly and men were arbitrarily slaughtered by the invading force. Amnesty International has taken eyewitness accounts that speak of incredibly disturbing incidents. One man in particular describes a woman in the final stages of labor being murdered by Boko Haram fighters.

Another speaks of running into the bush and being surrounded by bodies at every turn. “I don’t know how many but there were bodies everywhere we looked,” one woman told Amnesty.

Their report describes further atrocities committed against survivors,

After the attack on Baga, witnesses describe how Boko Haram drove into the bush rounding up women, children and the elderly who had escaped. According to one woman who was detained for four days, Boko Haram took around 300 women and kept us in a school in Baga. They released the older women, mothers and most of the children after four days but are still keeping the younger women.”

Others escaped across Lake Chad in canoes. However, an Al Jazeera report says many of the escapees are still in danger. Speaking with Abubakar Gamandi, head of Borno’s fish traders union, they discovered many are trapped on the islands around the lake.

“They told me that some of them are dying from lack of food, cold and malaria on the mosquito-infested island…I was in constant touch with them until this morning when the phone they were using went off, which I assume was due to dead battery.”

However, verification of these facts has remained difficult. Baga, which is in an isolated region of the country, is now under the control of Boko Haram fighters. This means that Amnesty and Human Rights Watch must rely on the testimonies of those who escaped.

The reports, however, were corroborated by Amnesty International’s satellite imagery, which shows the town of Baga both before and after the attacks. In the photos, you can easily see the destruction done to structures and homes.

Satellite images of town before and after attacks.

Satellite images of town before and after attacks.

How To Cope?

Many survivors of the Baga Massacre have fled into neighboring Chad as refugees, or gone further south in Nigeria as internally displaced persons. It is a terrible state for the nearly 10,000 residents of Baga, and the surrounding villages that also came under attack.

The government seemingly has very few plans on how to combat the terrorist organization. They are, according to reports, understaffed, under-equipped and very low on morale. And with elections coming up next month, Mr. Jonathan might not feel it is the time to mount the war horse.

This means that for those in Borno State, life has gone down a perilous path. With troops unable to defend them, and a terrorist organization attempting to establish a caliphate around them, most are caught in the crosshairs with nowhere to go, and no way to defend themselves. 

121 comments

John J
John J7 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J7 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Jack Y
Jack Y8 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y8 months ago

thanks

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Trevor L.
Trevor L.4 years ago

The international community need to wake up to the international threat of Boko Haram and other Jihadist groups. since 2009 Nigeria has suffered greatly at the hands of Boko Haram, The abduction of 273 girls from Chibok in APR2014 was a real warning sign of an international problem but there has been no substantial international response so far
This threat must be recognised and the world should unite in an appropriate response to contain the situation and effect a speedy solution. Nigeria on its own has shown
itself incapable of bringing about peace and harmony IT NEEDS INTERNATIONAL HELP let us respond in Nigeria as countries did in the recent Paris terrorist attack with world condemnation of terrorism and global effective support for Nigeria

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Berny p.
berny p4 years ago

MEDIEVAL SUB CULTURE...AND SOME PEOPLE STILL FIND POLITICALY CORRECT ANSWER FOR THIS.......

STOP FINDING EXCUSE AND DEAL WITH THEM VERY VERY VERY STRONGLY...IF NOT.....EUROPE AND THE REST OF THE WORLD WILL NOT BE SAFE....

IF YOU DONT CARE ...THINK AT LEAST OF YOUR GRAND CHILDREN!

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Julia R.
Julia R4 years ago

If all nations don't unite against the evil mindset of a very destructive force just as Hitler and his Nazi henchmen were, then we may all go down. It doesn't mean that we have to go to war, but we have to aid others who are put in a powerless position to help themselves.

"Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
- John Donne

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Kamia T.
Kamia T4 years ago

So long as psychopathic behavior like Boko Haram and other cults is allowed, the massacre will continue. Eventually they'll be the rulers of nothing - because no one will remain.

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