The Baga massacre began on 16 April 2013 in the village of Baga, Nigeria, in Borno State, when as many as 200 civilians were killed, hundreds wounded, and over 2,000 houses and businesses worth millions of Naira were destroyed. Conflicting media reports suggest the massacre may have continued for a number of days.
Thousands of people have died in fighting in Nigeria since the beginning of 2009 Boko Haram Uprising, which began in northern Nigeria. The leader of 2009 Boko Haram Uprising, Mohammed Yusuf (Boko Haram), was killed in Maiduguri of Borno State in 2009.
According to The New York Times, the Nigerian military has employed "scorched-earth standards" in their fight against Boko Haram, with civilians routinely killed during operations in poor neighborhoods. Massacres prior to the Baga massacre were commonly employed as punitive measures against the civilian population, without legal consequences in Nigeria.
On the evening of 16 April, members of Boko Haram engaged government soldiers at a military post outside Baga, killing one of them. According to residents, soldiers returned with reinforcements supported by armored vehicles.
Soldiers doused homes in Baga with gasoline and set fire to the village, shooting villagers who attempted to flee. Some attempting to escape into lake Chad drowned there, while others were able to escape into the surrounding bush. Casualties were especially high among children and the elderly.
According to some villagers, the massacre took place over a number of days.
Following the massacre, the Nigerian government came under intense pressure from international governments and media, leading the Nigerian national assembly to call for an investigation.
Nigerian army denial
Brigadier General Austin Edokpaye stated that only six civilians were killed in the event, while the army was able to kill 30 "Boko Haram terrorists." Brigadier General Chris Olukolade stated that anyone blaming Nigerian soldiers sympathized with Boko Haram, which he said was responsible for the massacre, and had shot at government soldiers from the village.
U.S. Government condemnation
The United States's acting deputy State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell on Monday 22 April condemned the clash between members of the Armed Forces' Joint Task Force (JTF) and militants in Baga, urging authorities to respect human rights.
Nigeria orders probe
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan through his special adviser on media and publicity, Reuben Abati has ordered a full-scale investigation into the civilian casualties in the war between Boko Haram and Nigeria’s soldiers at the weekend.
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- Nossiter, Adam (29 April 2013). "Massacre in Nigeria Spurs Outcry Over Military Tactics". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- Ibrahim, Yahaya (27 April 2013). "Nigeria: Baga Massacre - Survivors Tell Their Stories". Daily Trust. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- Dixon, Robyn (22 April 2013). "Dozens killed in gun battles in northern Nigeria". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- Akinlotan, Idowu (28 April 2013). "Baga massacre: Jonathan’s words return to haunt him". The Nation (Nigeria). Retrieved 29 April 2013.
- "US condemns Baga massacre". Sunnewsonlnie.com. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "Joanthan Orders Probe of Baga Massacre". Sunnewsonlnie.com. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- Baga Massacre: Crimes against humanity by JTF? | Nigeria Intel
- US condemns Baga massacre | Your #1 source for Nigerian News
- Jonathan orders probe of Baga Massacre | Your #1 source for Nigerian News