- The Washington Times - Friday, January 9, 2015

Terror experts and U.S. and Nigerian officials say Boko Haram carried out a series of attacks this week, killing as many as 2,000 civilians in northern Nigeria.

Survivors in the town of Baga fled into the nearby waters of Lake Chad, where some drowned and others are trapped on small islands, menaced by hippos, a local government official told NBC News.

District leader Musa Alhaji Bukar told the BBC that 2,000 residents in Baga and 16 other towns had been killed by the radical Islamist terrorists. He described the town — which had a population of 10,000 — as “virtually nonexistent” following Wednesday’s massacre, one of the most deadly terror attacks in history.

“These towns are just gone, burned down,” local Sen. Ahmed Zanna said in a telephone interview Thursday with NBC News. “The whole area is covered in bodies.”

Boko Haram’s offensive continued Thursday with militants setting up new checkpoints and killing people hiding in the bush, Nigerian Sen. Maina Maaji Lawan told the BBC.

Nearly 10,000 people have fled to Chad since Saturday, raising fears of a humanitarian crisis, according to Mr. Lawan. Others are fleeing to Maiduguri, the capital of the Borno region where the terrorists have carried out the attacks.

Boko Haram launched a campaign in 2009 to create an Islamic caliphate, taking control of towns and villages in the northern region of Nigeria bordering Cameroon.

At least 1.5 million people have been displaced so far and more than 2,000 were killed last year alone.

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