BOKO Haram fighters killed a woman as she was in labour during what is feared to be the deadliest attack in the six-year insurgency in Nigeria, Amnesty International claimed on Thursday.
The human rights group said an eyewitness to the assault on Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad in North-East Nigeria, told them the woman was shot by indiscriminate fire that also cut down small children.
“Half of the baby boy (was) out and she died like that,” the unnamed witness was quoted as saying.
Amnesty said hundreds of people, if not more, might have been killed in the attack, which began on January 3, thought to have targeted civilian vigilantes helping the military.
“They killed so many people. I saw maybe around 100 killed at that time in Baga. I ran to the bush. As we were running, they were shooting and killing,” a man in his 50s was quoted as saying.
Another woman added: “I don’t know how many, but there were bodies everywhere we looked.”
The testimony tallies with claims from local officials that huge numbers were killed and that of witnesses spoken to by AFP, who described seeing decomposing bodies littering the streets.
One man who escaped from Baga after hiding for three days said he was “stepping on bodies” for five kilometres (three miles) as he fled through the bush.
Nigeria’s military, however, said 150 people died, dismissing as “sensational,” claims that 2,000 may have lost their lives.
Human Rights Watch said the exact death toll was unknown and in a statement published on Thursday, quoted one local resident as saying: “No one stayed back to count the bodies. We were all running to get out of town ahead of Boko Haram fighters who have since taken over the area.”
Written For http://www.globalruns.com