Boko Haram militants have killed dozens of people and burned down homes in a second assault after capturing the northeast Nigerian town of Baga at the weekend.
The Islamist insurgents began shooting indiscriminately and burning buildings on Tuesday evening in raids on the civilian population that continued until Wednesday, Reuters reported, citing local residents.
“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 the news agency after fleeing to the state capital Maiduguri.
The insurgency killed more than 10,000 people last year, according to the Council on Foreign Relations in November.
It is seen as the gravest threat to Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, and a headache for President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of an election on Feb. 14, the report said.
Soldiers fled Baga over the weekend when the militants overran a nearby army base.
Baga chieftain Abba Hassan said at least 100 people were killed when the group first took over the town on the edge of Lake Chad.
Abubakar Gulama, who escaped without his family to Monguno, 40 kilometers away, said he crossed “many dead bodies on the ground” and that “the whole town was on fire”.
In the last week, around 2,000 Nigerians and 500 Chadians have fled Boko Haram attacks in Chad’s Lake region, Chadian Prime Minister Kalzeubet Pahimi said on Wednesday.
The Sunni jihadist group has been waging an insurgency to establish an Islamic state for more than five years.
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