AFP’s Phil Hazlewood reports: The fishing town of Baga in the far north of Borno is a no-go zone, as is much of the state, which has been worst hit by the violence.
No one can travel there, not even AFP’s local Nigerian staff. Telecommunications are destroyed. The only option is for survivors of Boko Haram raids to make it to an area still under government control – like the Borno state capital, Maiduguri – or over the border into Chad to tell their stories. Sometimes that can take weeks.
Photos and video, the proof that seems to be increasingly required to establish beyond doubt that an attack took place? Forget it.
Initial reporting of the attack in Baga went to type: AFP got word of the attack and issued a one-line alert on January 4. Beyond that, all we knew was that hundreds of people had fled and Boko Haram had overrun a military base used by Nigerian, Nigerien and Chadian troops in the counter-insurgency.
Four days later, President Goodluck Jonathan was in Lagos to launch his election campaign when Musa Bukar went on the Hausa-language service of BBC radio.
Bukar, a local government official from near Baga, claimed as many as 2,000 people may have been killed when Boko Haram fighters stormed the town, razing it and at least 16 surrounding settlements. [Continue reading…]