The Nigerian military has appealed to the international community for assistance in its fight against Boko Haram, following the recent attack on the north-eastern town of Baga.
The extremist group attacked Baga and the surrounding villages after overrunning the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force, which consists of soldiers from Nigeria, Niger and Chad. The group reportedly killed 2,000 people.
Claimed to be the deadliest massacre in the group’s five-year insurgency, hundreds of civilians were wounded and at least 20,000 were forced to flee.
The attack was followed by two explosions in the war-torn Borno state, one of which was reportedly carried out by a child suicide bomber and killed 19 people.
Nigerian defence spokesperson Chris Olukolade was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying: “The attack on the town by the bloodhounds and their activities since 3 January 2015 should convince well-meaning people all over the world that Boko Haram is the evil all must collaborate to end, rather than vilifying those working to check them.”
Nigeria has previously requested assistance in combating the group, including the supply of weapons.
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Nigerian soldiers have reportedly refused to deploy against the terrorists, claiming they do not have sufficient equipment.
Olukolade added: “The Nigerian military has not given up on Baga and other localities where terrorist activities are now prevalent.
“Appropriate plans, men and resources are presently being mobilised to address the situation.
“It is necessary to reassure Nigerians that the Nigerian Armed Forces and security agencies are capable of flushing out the terrorists from Baga and all parts of the nation’s territory where their activities are prevalent.”
Since launching its offensive in 2009, Boko Haram has seized dozens of towns and villages in north-east Nigeria, and currently controls the border areas of Borno state with Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the insurgency reportedly killed more than 10,000 in 2014 alone, and more than one million people are displaced.
Image: A man outside his destroyed home in Baga, Borno State, Nigeria. Photo: courtesy of IRIN / Aminu Abubakar.