Boko Haram kills dozens in fresh raids in Nigerian town

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 08, 2015 1:22 PM

BAUCHI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Boko Haram militants have killed dozens of people and burned down homes in the northeast Nigerian town of Baga in the past two days, in a second killing spree since seizing control there at the weekend, witnesses said on Thursday.

Two locals said the insurgents began shooting indiscriminately and burning buildings on Tuesday evening in raids on the civilian population that carried on into Wednesday.

Soldiers had fled over the weekend when the Sunni jihadist group overran a nearby army base.

At least 100 people were killed when the militants first took over the town on the edge of Lake Chad, the district head Abba Hassan said on Thursday.

"I escaped with my family in the car after seeing how Boko Haram was killing people ... I saw bodies in the street. Children and women, some were crying for help," Mohamed Bukar told Reuters after fleeing to the Borno state capital Maiduguri.

The militants have been waging an insurgency to establish an Islamic state in the country's northeast for five years. The number and scale of attacks rose sharply last year, after the government imposed emergency rule on the three worst-hit states.

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Reuters TV footage showed scores of civilians waiting on sandy streets on the outskirts of Baga to catch buses out of town. Many carried the few possessions they had salvaged, such as bags of clothes and rolled up mattresses.

Boko Haram has taken over or rendered ungovernable swathes of the northeast, especially Borno state.

(Reporting by Ardo Abdullah and Isaac Abrak; Writing by Julia Payne; Editing by Tim Cocks and Andrew Roche)