Nigeria: Satellite Images Reveal Massive Destruction in Baga

Investigate Abuses and Possible Military Cover Up
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Johannesburg, May 1, 2013) – Satellite images reveal massive destruction of civilian property from a military raid on April 16 and 17, 2013, in the northern Nigerian town of Baga, undermining the military’s claim that only 30 houses were destroyed, Human Rights Watch said today. The Nigerian government should thoroughly and impartially investigate allegations that soldiers carried out widespread destruction and killing in the town.

Baga residents told Human Rights Watch that soldiers ransacked the town after the Boko Haram militant Islamist group attacked a military patrol, killing a soldier. Community leaders said that immediately after the attack they counted 2,000 burned homes and 183 bodies. Satellite images of the town analyzed by Human Rights Watch corroborate these accounts and identify 2,275 destroyed buildings, the vast majority likely residences, with another 125 severely damaged.

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Photographs

  • Pre-violence view of Baga (Focus Area 1) on April 6, 2013.
    © CNES 2013; Source: Astrium

  • Post-violence view of Baga (Focus Area 1) on April 26, 2013.
    © CNES 2013; Source: Astrium

  • Pre-violence view of Baga (Focus Area 2) on April 6, 2013.
    © CNES 2013; Source: Astrium

  • Post-violence view of Baga (Main Damage Area 2) on March 26, 2013.
    © CNES 2013; Source: Astrium