The Nigerian military has debunked claims in the media that over two thousand people were slain when Boko Haram sect members attacked Baga, Borno State on Saturday, January 3, 2015.
Director of Defence Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, made the revelation while addressing newsmen on Monday, January 12, 2015, adding that 150 people ere killed, including a large number of insurgents.
#BAGA:From all available evidences the no. of people who lost their lives during the attack has so far not exceeded about 150 in the interim
— DEFENCE HQ NIGERIA (@DefenceInfoNG) January 12, 2015
He said: “…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 2,000.
“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 a series of attacks and harassment by the 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 claim 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.”
Olukolade also showed video clips of movement in and around Baga during the battle.
“In any case, this is no time to debate about casualty figures or number of deaths as the life of any Nigerian is important. Much as the intention which could be with the aim of drawing attention to the atrocities being committed by terrorists group in Nigeria is most welcome, the need for factual presentation of the situation is equally vital,” he added