You may remember TNT covering Manchester’s ‘I Am Baga Too’ march at the beginning of February. The march was organised and carried out in protest against the horrific Baga massacres of over 2,000 civilians by terrorist group Boko Haram in January. Having attended that march, Manchester activists told TNT of their relief on the news that the Nigerian military had regained control of Baga, the north-eastern town of Nigeria, from Boko Haram.
Authorities in Nigeria released a statement in which they said they had recovered Baga, having been held by Boko Haram militants since 3 January. A spokesman said that mopping up in the town had begun and in a separate statement claimed it had killed many Boko Haram militants.
The town which is also home to a joint multinational force that includes troops from Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon, was left undefended as residents felt the military had deserted them. However after the recent aerial bombardments of the town from the military, thousands of Boko Haram insurgents fled the town via Lake Chad, thereupon many of them drowned as they tried to escape.
Director of Defence Information, Chris Olukolade said in a statement to Reuters this weekend, “We have secured Baga. We are now in full control. There are only mopping up exercises left to do”.
Ashley Scott, an undergraduate student from Manchester University told TNT that “On one hand it’s a huge relief for us [activists] but even more so for them [residents of Baga]. But on the other it’s still raising many questions as to why the military didn’t do anything back then? Why the world is not helping them? Why the media is silent about it. Many of us are relieved but still broken”. She also attended the march earlier on in February.
The attack on the town – considered the worst of Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency – attracted global outrage after reports that about 2,000 people had lost their lives.
TNT will update you on the developing situation.
TNT News Yasin Chinembiri