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"I saw them kill my father, they slaughtered him like a ram"

Boko Haram killed as many as 2,000 in their latest attacks.

 Nigerian soldiers stand guard at the offices of the state-run Nigerian Television Authority in Maiduguri.
Nigerian soldiers stand guard at the offices of the state-run Nigerian Television Authority in Maiduguri.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

HUNDREDS OF BODIES — too many to count — remain strewn in the bush in Nigeria from an Islamic extremist attack that Amnesty International suggested is the “deadliest massacre” in the history of Boko Haram.

Mike Omeri, the government spokesman on the insurgency, said fighting continued for Baga, a town on the border with Chad where insurgents seized a key military base on 3 January and attacked again on Wednesday.

“Security forces have responded rapidly, and have deployed significant military assets and conducted airstrikes against militant targets,” Omeri said in a statement.

District head Baba Abba Hassan said most victims are children, women and elderly people who could not run fast enough when insurgents drove into Baga, firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on town residents.

“The human carnage perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists in Baga was enormous,” Muhammad Abba Gava, a spokesman for poorly armed civilians in a defense group that fights Boko Haram, told The Associated Press.

He said the civilian fighters gave up on trying to count all the bodies.

An Amnesty International statement said there are reports the town was razed and as many as 2,000 people killed.

If true, “this marks a disturbing and bloody escalation of Boko Haram’s ongoing onslaught,” said Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International.

The previous bloodiest day in the uprising involved soldiers gunning down unarmed detainees freed in a March 14, 2014, attack on Giwa military barracks in Maiduguri city. Amnesty said then that satellite imagery indicated more than 600 people were killed that day.

The 5-year insurgency killed more than 10,000 people last year alone, according to the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations. More than a million people are displaced inside Nigeria and hundreds of thousands have fled across its borders into Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria.

Suleiman Dauda, 12, said he ran into the bushes with neighbors when extremists attacked his village, Askira Uba, near Yola last year.

“I saw them kill my father, they slaughtered him like a ram. And up until now I don’t know where my mother is,” he told The Associated Press at Daware refugee camp in Yola.

Read: Boko Haram raze 16 towns, kill at least 100

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