Displaced residents of Baga town yesterday revealed the shocking details about how insurgents seized the town and forced the locals to flee into the neighbouring Chad Republic.
According to Premium Times, many resident of Baga, who were lucky to escape the attack, are now taking refuge in Chad Republic. Those, who could not swim through the lake, or get on canoes, reportedly drowned. As a result, many women, children and elderly people died in the rivers.
One of the witnesses said that the attackers arrived on several four-wheel trucks and motorcycles and used high caliber rifles and explosives to attack both soldiers and civilians.
“They attacked and burnt our homes, business premises and parts of the seized MNJTF base [Multinational Joint Task Force - Legit.ng],” said Audu Labo, a displaced resident. “The soldiers were overpowered and had to abandon their post and fled for safety.”
“It was in the very early hours of Saturday morning that they came into Baga in their hundreds, driving several Hilux Patrol Vehicles, trucks and some on motorcycles as they immediately began to throw explosives and bombs coming out from long rifles they carry on their shoulders (rocket propelled grenades) as well as those rifles called AK47.”
“We ran for several hours before we got to the Lake and from there some of us who could not get on the boats had to swim across to Chad Republic,” Mr. Labo said.
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He also added that residents avoided the land routes to Chad because Boko Haram gunmen had already taken over them.
Some of the soldiers were said to have pulled off their uniforms and discarded their rifles in order to escape the terrorists.
“We all were running for our dear lives; even the soldiers had to pull off their uniforms and some of us had to volunteer our clothes for them to disguise so that they could escape into Chad safely”, a survivor, who sought anonymity for security reasons, said.
A top security officer on condition of anonymity also confirmed the seizure of the MNJTF base to journalists but declined comment on the casualty.
“It is still very difficult to give correct figure of casualties because as you may be aware, the town is now fully under the control of the insurgents. Our troops tried to hold on for hours but due to lack of reinforcement, they were overpowered."
Speaking about the attack, Maina Lawan, who represents Borno North in the Senate, said that civilians ran “helter skelter” and soldiers left their post.
“There is definitely something wrong that makes our military abandon their posts each time there is an attack from Boko Haram,” the senator concluded while describing the situation to the BBC World Service.
According to Leadership, Baga was not the only town attacked in the area.
“They had attacked Cross-Kauwa before heading for Baga, because we met some residents of Cross-Kauwa and Doron Baga also fleeing in the bushes, and they told us that separate troops of Boko Haram terrorists were attacking their villages at the same time,” said a witness who pleaded not to be named.
In the evening of January 3, Boko Haram suspects were also said to have attacked Babban Gida town, the headquarters of Tarmuwa LGA, Yobe State.