April 22, 2013

Clashes Between Boko Haram, Nigerian Army Leave 185 Dead

At least 185 people have been killed in northeastern Nigeria in clashes between the country’s military forces and Boko Haram militants, officials say.

 

Boko Haram militants
Boko Haram militants

Lawan Kole, a local government official told Borno state Governor Kashim Shettima on Sunday that the fighting began in Baga, Borno on Friday, and lasted for hours, the Associate Press reported.

It is not clear how many of the victims were soldiers, civilians or militants as many of the bodies had been burned beyond recognition in fires that razed whole sections of the town.

Brigadier General Austin Edokpaye said many civilians were used as human shields by Boko Haram militants, who used heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

“When we reinforced and returned to the scene the terrorists came out with heavy firepower, including (rocket-propelled grenades), which usually has a conflagration effect,” the general said.

However, some of the local residents said that the militants set the fire on purpose during the attack.

Many of the fearful residents of the town were packing up to leave with their remaining family members, despite Shettima’s efforts to make them stay.

“Everyone has been in the bush since Friday night. We started returning back to town because the governor came to town today,” one of the residents said, adding, “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.”

Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly gun and bomb attacks in various parts of Nigeria since 2009.

Human rights groups report that violent actions by Boko Haram since mid-2009 have claimed more than 1,000 lives, including over 300 in 2012.

Agencies

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