From Joy Baba Yesufu
The Nigerian military yesterday debunked reports that put the death rate from last attack on Baga at 2000 deaths, saying that 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.” The military said
The Director Defence Information, Chris Olukolade at a press briefing on the true situation in Baga in Abuja Monday said,”Without any doubt, terrible atrocities have been committed against innocent Nigerians in Baga by the rampaging terrorists who attacked and have been operating in the town since 3 January 2015. Necessary actions are being taken to put an end to the activities of the terrorists and restore law and order to the community.
“To this end, a lot of covert operations including surveillance activities which recorded series aerial photographs are ongoing in that vicinity.”
He said it was 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.
“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 claim to be eye witnesses must be an extremely exaggerated estimate.
“It is pertinent to once again urge the media to be circumspect in adopting casualty figures especially the ones given to them by the so-called eye witness, who in most cases, are influenced by their own perspectives.”
Olukolade reiterated its earlier assurance that the military has not given up on Baga or any part of the country where terrorists are marauding. “Appropriate plans, men and resources are presently being mobilized to address the situation. We want reassure Nigerians that no portion of Nigeria’s territory has been or will be conceded to terrorists.” He said