Close to 200 civilians are dead as there was intense fighting between officers of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and suspected Boko Haram insurgents in Borno state. Over 2000 homes have been destroyed.
Rocket-propelled grenades and heavy gunfire bombarded the border town of Baga, in Borno for hours on Friday evening. Many of the residents fled the town only to return to a completely destroyed town on Sunday afternoon. Human & Animal corpses littered the streets.
Authorities had found and buried at least 185 bodies as of Sunday afternoon, but the civilian casualties have not been confirmed by authorities. However reports suggest that most are civilians as opposed to soldiers or Boko Haram members.Many of the bodies had been burned beyond recognition in fires that razed whole sections of the town, residents said.
Those killed were buried as soon as possible, following local Muslim tradition.
Brigadier General Austin Edokpaye, also on the visit, said Boko Haram extremists used heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the assault, which began after soldiers, surrounded a mosque they believed housed members of the radical Islamic extremist network Boko Haram. He also indicated that Boko Haram fighters used civilians are human shields during the fighting, and much of the fighting happened in neighborhoods where civilians lived.
One resident, Bashir Isa, told Associated Press that “everyone has been in the bush since Friday night; we started returning to town because the governor came. To get food to eat in the town now is a problem because even the markets are burnt. We are still picking corpses of women and children in the bush and creeks.”