Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Military Disputes Baga Casualty Figure, Says 150, Not 2,000 Were Killed

Maj Gen. Olukolade
The Defence authorities have faulted the claim that over 2,000 people were killed in the Boko Haram attacks on the Baga headquarters of the Multi-National Joint Task Force penultimate Saturday.
The Director of Defence Information, Maj. Gen Chris Olukolade, said during a press briefing in Abuja on Monday that 150 people, including large number of members of the Boko Haram sect, who stormed the base in large number, were killed in the confrontation.

Olukolade explained that many of the residents of Baga and the nearby community had fled the area because of incessant attacks by the members of the Boko Haram sect on communities in the area.

He added that many of the residents of the community fled the area while the battle between the soldiers and the insurgents lasted.

Olukolade said the figures being reported and attributed to eyewitnesses were exaggerated.

“…It is however necessary to inform Nigerians in the interim that the exercise so far has not corroborated the report on the casualty rate which was put at 2000 deaths.

“From all available evidences, the number of people who lost their lives during that attack has so far not exceeded about 150 in the interim. This figure includes many of the terrorists who were bearing arms and got killed in the course of their attack and battle with troops.

“It should be noted that Baga and the neighbouring towns have been under series of attacks and harassment by terrorists. In the course of this, many residents have left, leaving the population in the town almost seriously depleted. Many were also able to escape while the terrorists’ battle with troops lasted.

“The figure given by sources, who claimed to be eyewitnesses, must be an extremely exaggerated estimate. Unfortunately, this figure is now being bandied about in a section of the media as if it has been authenticated. It cannot be true,” he said

Punch Newspaper