185 Dead as Nigerian Army, Boko Haram Clash
Many civilians believed to be among the dead
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 22, 2013 12:03 AM CDT
A young girl stands amid the burned ruins of Baga, Nigeria yesterday.   (AP Photo/Haruna Umar)

(Newser) – Fighting between Nigeria's military and Islamic extremists killed at least 185 people in a fishing community in the nation's northeast during an attack that saw insurgents fire rocket-propelled grenades and soldiers spray machine-gun fire into neighborhoods filled with civilians. The fighting in Baga began Friday and lasted for hours, sending people fleeing into the arid scrublands surrounding the community on Lake Chad. Yesterday, when government officials finally felt safe enough to see the destruction, homes, businesses, and vehicles had been burned throughout the area.

The assault marks a significant escalation in the long-running insurgency Nigeria faces in its predominantly Muslim north, with Boko Haram extremists mounting a coordinated assault on soldiers using military-grade weaponry. The killings also mark one of the deadliest incidents ever involving Boko Haram. Officials could not offer a breakdown of civilian casualties versus those of soldiers and extremist fighters. Many of the bodies had been burned beyond recognition in fires that razed whole sections of the town, said residents, who accused soldiers of deliberately setting fires during the attack.

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Showing 2 of 4 comments
Apr 22, 2013 6:51 AM CDT
I fear for the financial future of the wealthy elite who are siphoning off Nigeria's oil wealth. How can we protect democracy, yachts and mansions from these Muslim extremists?
Apr 22, 2013 2:01 AM CDT
Our government will never stand for this. Nigeria has sweet crude.