New satellite images reveal the extent of Boko Haram's "largest and most destructive" assault yet in Nigeria, where hundreds have been murdered over the past two weeks. Two satellite images from Jan. 2 and Jan. 7, released by Amnesty International, show "devastation of catastrophic proportions" in the towns of Baga and Doron Baga, where militants recently opened fire on men, women, children, and the elderly. They indicate more than 3,700 structures were damaged or destroyed by fire across both towns, while boats appearing on the shoreline in the Jan. 2 photograph have vanished from the later image, supporting claims that survivors fled across Lake Chad. Witnesses describe the scene as a bloodbath, with militants, armed with AK-47s and riding armored tanks, killing small children and even a woman in labor.
"Up until now, the isolation of the Baga combined with the fact that Boko Haram remains in control of the area has meant that it has been very difficult to verify what happened there," an AI researcher says. But with new evidence, "a picture of what is likely to be Boko Haram's deadliest attack ever is becoming clearer." He adds the death toll "could be much higher" than the current figure of 150, though locals haven't been able to return for the dead. One man who escaped after hiding in a home with a collapsed roof tells the Guardian, "I walked through five villages and each one I passed was empty except for dead bodies." Meanwhile, NBC News reports Boko Haram may be using children, including the girls kidnapped from Chibok last April, as suicide bombers. Some 20 people were killed in a bombing involving a girl as young as 10 last week.