Death toll in Nigeria massacre still unknown

Posted at 3:43 PM, Jan 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-15 16:41:03-05

An attack in Northern Nigeria in which an estimated 3,700 structures were damaged or destroyed is the most catastrophic attack by the militant group called Boko Haram, according to Amnesty International.

AI this week released satellite images showing the scale of the attacks on the towns of Baga and Doron Baga.

Witnesses reported as many as 2,000 people were killed in the Jan. 3 massacre, but an official toll has not been taken because authorities have not yet accessed the area, CNN reported. The Nigerian government says it believes the toll is more around 150.

An estimated 30,000 were displaced as a result of their towns being stormed by the militants, which have terrorized Nigeria for six years. The group's mission is to enforce a stricter Sharia (Islamic) law, which is followed by the Muslim faith.

Many attempts to impose Sharia law have included violence.

“Of all Boko Haram assaults analysed by Amnesty International, this is the largest and most destructive yet. It represents a deliberate attack on civilians whose homes, clinics and schools are now burnt out ruins," states a release on the Amnesty International website.

Boko Haram was also behind the April 2014 kidnapping of nearly 300 girls from a school in Nigeria.

On Wednesday, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan visited the Northeast region of Nigeria, where he met with survivors and told them their home would be reclaimed from the militants. 

Next month's elections in Nigeria will be greatly effected by the attacks because residents who fled will not be able to vote in their place of constituency, which is a voting requirement.