Kano – Boko Haram remains in control of the northeast Nigerian town of Baga more than a week after a massacre feared to be the worst since the insurgency began, a resident said on Monday.
“I entered Baga around 02:00 (01:00 GMT) today [Monday] and it was still occupied by Boko Haram,” fisherman Borye Kime told AFP by telephone from Dubuwa village in neighbouring Chad.
“They have set up barricades in strategic locations in the town. It is corpses everywhere. The whole town smells of decomposing bodies.”
Boko Haram first attacked Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad in the far north of Borno State, on 3 January and subsequently razed it and at least 16 surrounding settlements.
Local officials have cited huge numbers of dead in the attacks but confirming the figures is currently impossible. Some 20 000 people are said to have been forced to flee.
Nigeria’s military said on Saturday that the attack could be described as “the deadliest” in the six-year rebellion that has claimed more than 13 000 lives.
Defence spokesperson Chris Olukolade said that a fight-back was being planned. On Friday, Mike Omeri, who speaks for the government on national security, said troops were “actively pursuing” the rebels.
But Kime, who said he had returned to Baga to collect his life savings and money entrusted to him for safe-keeping, stashed away in his house, said he did not see any troops.
“There is not a single soldier in Baga,” the 40-year-old added. “All the talk about soldiers fighting to take back Baga is not true.”