Nigeria: Boko Haram fighters are reported to have killed hundreds of people in a renewed assault after capturing a key town and military base in northeast Nigeria at the weekend, Al JAzeera reported on Thursday quoting local officials.
The group's fighters initially captured the town of Baga and the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), which is made of troops from Nigeria, Niger and Chad, on Saturday.
At least 100 people were killed when the Boko Haram first took over the town on the edge of Lake Chad, the report said quoting the district head Abba Hassan. The fighters then razed several towns and villages in Borno state in the following days.
The report quotes Musa Bukar, head of the Kukawa local government area: "They [Boko Haram] burnt to the ground all the 16 towns and villages, including Baga, Doron-Baga, Mile 4, Mile 3, Kauyen Kuros and Bunduram."
Abubakar Gamandi, head of Borno's fish traders union and a Baga native, also confirmed the attacks, adding that hundreds of people who fled were trapped on islands on Lake Chad.
The armed group has seized more than two dozen towns in northeast Nigeria in the last six months, and now controls all three of Borno's borders with Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
The fighters reportedly used petrol bombs and explosives to destroy Baga, a key fishing and commercial hub, and the surrounding villages on the shores of Lake Chad.
A reporter of the news organisation, reporting from Kaduna, said: "Effectively, Baga town is under Boko Haram control at the moment."
He said that there were reports that hundreds of people had been killed in the violence and that some of those who fled are believed to have drowned in their attempt to escape to Chad and other neighbouring countries.