Amnesty International has released shocking satellite imagery that they claim "show devastation of catastrophic proportions" in Baga and Doron Baga, two towns in northeastern Nigeria that were attacked by Boko Haram.
The images show some 3,700 structures damaged or destroyed in Baga and Doron Baga last week, the human-rights group said.
According to earlier reports, the exact death toll has been unclear with Amnesty claiming Islamic militants have killed close to 2000 people, the Nigerian military has systemically denied this, claiming it to be closer to 150.
Daniel Eyre, the Amnesty Nigeria reasercher said in a statement, "Up until now, the isolation of the Baga combined with the fact that Boko Haram remains in control of the area has meant that it has been very difficult to verify what happened there."
"Residents have not been able to return to bury the dead, let alone count their number. But through these satellite images combined with graphic testimonies a picture of what is likely to be Boko Haram's deadliest attack ever is becoming clearer," he added.
Human Rights Watch said 11 per cent of Baga and 57 per cent of Doron Baga was flattened, most likely by fire. They added, the exact death toll was unknown and quoted one local resident as saying, “No one stayed back to count the bodies.
“We were all running to get out of town ahead of Boko Haram fighters who have since taken over the area.”
Sydney Morning Herald reported a witness statement who said children and even a woman in labour were targeted in an indiscriminate rampage. Horrifically, a fourth witness recounted the death of the expectant mother – "half the baby boy is out and she dies like this."
Sadly, there was no Je Suis Charlie moment for 2,000 reportedly killed in Nigeria but Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan paid a surprise visit on Thursday to the heartland of the Boko Haram movement, after release of the satellite pictures that showed massive destruction, says AFP.
According to BBC, It was his first trip to the region since March 2013. He met survivors of the latest attack now living in a refugee camp in Maidugiri.
"I want to assure you that you will soon go back to your houses," he said, according to the AFP news agency.
Last year President Jonathan cancelled a trip to the region, causing speculati0n that he was indifferent to the fate of 200 schoolgirls kidnapped from the town of Chibok.
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Updated Date: Jan 16, 2015 14:08:06 IST