Nigeria army says Baga casualties 'no more than 150'

Nigeria's military said on Monday that at least 150 people had been killed in clashes in the northeastern town of Baga, giving a rare official death toll a few weeks before presidential elections in which security is a big issue

Nigeria army says Baga casualties 'no more than 150'

World Bulletin/News Desk

The Nigerian military said Monday that casualties from a Boko Haram attack last week on the northeastern Baga town has not exceeded 150, denying reports that 2,000 people had been killed in the assault.

"This figure includes many of the terrorists who were bearing arms and got killed in the course of their attack and battle with troops," defense spokesman Chris Olukolade said in a statement.

He said that Baga and surrounding villages have repeatedly been attacked and so had long been deserted by residents before the latest assault.

"The figure given by sources who claim to be eyewitnesses must be an extremely exaggerated estimate," Olukolade said.

"Unfortunately, this figure is now being bandied about in a section of the media as if it has been authenticated. It cannot be true," the spokesman said.

Last week, Boko Haram militants staged a daring attack on the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in Baga town.

The attack has forced thousands of residents to flee their homes, amid reports that 2,000 had been killed in the attack.

Olukolade said that a lot of covert operations, including surveillance activities, are ongoing in that vicinity.

The Nigerian government said on Friday that the military was combating "terrorists" to reclaim the fishing town.

The army spokesman called on the media to verify their information to avoid misleading the public and the international community.

"The defense headquarters wishes to reiterate its earlier assurance that the military has not given up on Baga or any part of the country where terrorists are marauding," he said

"Appropriate plans, men and resources are presently being mobilized to address the situation," the spokesman said.

Tens of thousands of Nigerians have been killed since Boko Haram launched its violent campaign in 2009 following the extrajudicial murder of its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, while in police custody.

The group has also been blamed for the destruction of public infrastructure, private businesses and the displacement of at least six million Nigerians


Last Mod: 13 Ocak 2015, 11:03
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