Some media estimate the death toll at 2000, with churches burned.
YOLA, Nigeria — While the world’s attention has been focused on the massacre of journalists in Paris who satirized Islam, a far more deadly attack took place in Nigeria, part of an ongoing war being waged by the Islamist group Boko Haram.
Some media outlets have put the death toll at 2000.
Several churches have been burned in the latest series of attacks committed by Boko Haram in the city of Baga and in the surrounding villages, in Nigeria’s Borno state.
Father Patrick Tor Alumuku, director of social communications of the Archdiocese of Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, told Fides News Agency that the Christian Association of Nigeria, an ecumenical organization, confirmed that Boko Haram had burned several churches and "caused numerous victims."
The Boko Haram group attacked Baga town on Wednesday, where in recent days it had conquered the multinational military Task Force base in charge of ensuring the safety of the area.
"When those of Boko Haram arrive in a major city they make no distinction between Christians and Muslims, and the population flees, without distinction of religion," said Father Alumuku. "Boko Haram separates Muslims from Christians only in the smaller villages. Next to the combatants from Nigeria, Boko Haram has been strengthened by jihadist members from Libya and Mali. Their goal is to create a caliphate in northern Nigeria."
Amnesty International suggested today that the attack was the "deadliest massacre" in the history of Boko Haram.
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 Associated Press reported.
The five-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 AP at Daware refugee camp in Yola.