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185 People Killed As Bokoharam And Soldiers Fight - Official - Crime - Nairaland

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185 People Killed As Bokoharam And Soldiers Fight - Official by modextus(m): 2:37am On Apr 22, 2013
Fighting between soldiers and Boko Haram members killed
at least 185 people in Baga, a fishing community in Borno,
officials said Sunday, an attack that saw insurgents fire
rocket-propelled grenades and soldiers spray machine-gun
fire into neighborhoods filled with civilians.
The fighting in Baga began Friday and lasted
for hours, sending people fleeing into the arid
scrublands surrounding the community on
Lake Chad.
By Sunday, when government officials finally felt safe enough
to see the destruction, homes, businesses and vehicles were
burned throughout the area.
Authorities had found and buried at least 185 bodies as of
Sunday afternoon, said Lawan Kole, a local government official
in Baga.
He spoke haltingly to Borno state Gov. Kashim Shettima in the
Kanuri language, surrounded by still-frightened villagers.
Brig. Gen. Austin Edokpaye, also on the visit, did not dispute
the casualty figures. Edokpaye said the extremists used heavy
machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the assault,
which began after soldiers surrounded a mosque they believed
housed members of the radical extremist network Boko Haram.
Edokpaye said extremists used civilians as human shields
during the fighting - implying that soldiers opened fire in
neighborhoods where they knew civilians lived.
"'When we reinforced and returned to the scene the terrorists
came out with heavy firepower, including (rocket-propelled
grenades), which usually has a conflagration effect," the general
said.
Sunday afternoon, the burned bodies of cattle and goats still
filled the streets. Bullet holes marred burned buildings.
"Everyone has been in the bush since Friday night; we started
returning back to town because the governor came to town
today," grocer Bashir Isa said. "To get food to eat in the town
now is a problem because even the markets are burnt. We are
still picking corpses of women and children in the bush and
creeks."

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