Up to 2,000 people may have been killed in an attack by Boko Haram militants in northeastern Nigeria, according to local officials.
Witnesses said that the militants were indiscriminately killing men, woman and children.
“I escaped with my family in the car after seeing how Boko Haram was killing people… I saw bodies in the street,” survivor Mohamed Bukar told Reuters. “Children and women, some were crying for help.”
Reports indicate that soldiers in the town fled before the Boko Haram onslaught.
“They came through the north, the west and from the southern part of the town because the eastern part is only water,” a witness told the BBC. “So, when we [went] towards the western part, we saw heavily armed Boko Haram men coming towards us.”
“The soldiers were trying to repel the attack but that wasn’t going to happen because a lot of the soldiers were without their guns and some were running into the town,” the witness said. “When you see soldiers running away into the town — what are you to do, other than to just run away as well?”
“The indiscriminate killing went on and on and on,” local state senator Maina Maaji Lawan told the BBC.
“There is definitely something wrong that makes our military abandon their posts each time there is an attack from Boko Haram,” Lawan said.
Last year, Boko Haram leader Abu Bakr Shekau announced the creation of an “Islamic caliphate” in territories under the group’s control.