Gunshots punctured the early morning quiet. “They came through the north, the west and from the southern part of the town because the eastern part is only water,” one resident told the BBC. “So, when we [went] toward the western part, we saw heavily armed Boko Haram men coming toward us.” At the sight of the incoming insurgents, the soldiers put up a scant fight before abandoning their base and leaving residents defenseless.
“There is definitely something wrong that makes our military abandon their posts each time there is an attack from Boko Haram,” local state senator Maina Maaji Lawan told the BBC, adding that residents’ frustration knew “no bounds.” Frustration, however, soon gave way to something substantially worse.
It’s not clear how many people were killed in Baga. Early reports on Thursday said hundreds. Others said it was many more. Musa Alhaji Bukar, a senior government official in Borno, said Boko Haram killed more than 2,000 people which, if true, would mean the group equaled its total kill count last year in one attack. More were said to have drowned in Lake Chad while attempting to swim to a nearby island. Some estimatessaid more than 20,000 people are now displaced as result of what one reporter called Boko Haram’s “most horrific act of terrorism yet.”
Baga, local government officials say, is simply no more. It’s “virtually non-existent,” Bukar told the BBC. One man who escaped with his family toldAgence France-Presse he had to navigate through “many dead bodies on the ground” and that the “whole town was on fire.” Another man told Reuters he “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.” He added: Bodies were “littered on the streets and surrounding bushes.”
“The indiscriminate killing went on and on and on,” Lawan told BBC.
And of course Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is powerless to do anything, as Nigeria's government is so utterly corrupt that any attempts to combat Boko Haram end in abject failure. Northeastern Nigeria along Lake Chad now completely belongs to Boko Haram, and now they are pushing into neighboring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.
It doesn't look like anyone is going to be able to stop them.