The horrific aftermath of Boko Haram massacre on Nigerian villages: Before and after satellite images lay bare destruction caused by militants in attack that killed 2,500 people
- Infra-red satellite images show destruction of 'densely populated' towns
- One witness says terrorists shot and killed a woman who was in labour
- Estimated 2,500 people killed, and more than 3,700 structures were razed
- Extremist group, Boko Haram, decimated towns of Baga and Doron Baga
- One of the towns 'nearly wiped off the map', says Amnesty International
- Survivors describe fleeing over dead bodies of people 'killed like insects'
- WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT
The destruction wreaked by Islamist militants in Nigeria when they slaughtered an estimated 2,500 people including a woman while she was in labour has been revealed in shocking new satellite images.
Terror group Boko Haram outraged the world last week when they indiscriminately murdered innocent men, women and children as they attacked the towns of Baga and Doron Baga.
Now, new images obtained by Amnesty International show how the towns were devastated by the assault - with more than 3,700 structures including houses and schools completely destroyed.
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Before: Infra-red images show the densely populated village of Doron Baga on January 2 - before the attack
After: This image taken on January 7, following Boko Haram's assault, shows the village transformed by death and destruction
Destruction: It's estimated that 2,500 people were killed and more than 3,000 buildings were razed to the ground
In the pictures taken beforehand, the areas in red show buildings and trees in the densely packed towns in the north of the country.
But in the pictures taken after the massacre, they have been decimated and the infra-red satellite images instead reveal grey areas where the militants savagely razed the towns.
The destruction shown in these images matches the horrific stories from eyewitnesses revealing how Boko Haram militants shot hundreds of civilians in cold blood.
One witness described how the ruthless terror group were shooting indiscriminately, killing even small children and a woman who was in labour.
He added: 'Half of the baby boy is out and she died like this.'
Ibrahim Gambo, a 25-year-old truck driver, survived the relentless attack in Baga but he still doesn't know if his wife and daughter are safe.
He said: 'As we were running for our lives, we came across many corpses, both men and women, and even children.
'Some had gunshot wounds in the head and some had their legs bound and hands tied behind their backs.'
Yahaya Takakumi, a 55-year-old farmer, revealed to Nigeria's Premium Times how he managed to flee Baga with one of his wives - but does not know if his four children, his second wife or his elder brother managed to escape.
He said: 'We saw dead bodies especially, on the islands of Lake Chad where fishermen had settled. Several persons were killed there like insects.'
Mr Takakumi said the Islamic extremists opened fire on vessels carrying fleeing residents across the lake.
Daniel Eyre, Nigeria researcher for Amnesty International, said this was the 'largest and most destructive' Boko Haram assault his organisation has ever analysed.
He added: 'These detailed images show devastation of catastrophic proportions in two towns, one of which was almost wiped off the map in the space of four days.
'It represents a deliberate attack on civilians whose homes, clinics and schools are now burnt out ruins.
Turmoil: map showing Nigeria and the location of Baga which was devastated by brutal Boko Haram fanatics
Wave of terror: The yellow dots in this satellite image, taken after Boko Haram's onslaught on Baga, show around 620 structures damaged in the attack
Razed: A similar image shows the compete destruction of the neighbouring village of Doron Baga - also known as Doro Gowon
'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.
'Residents have not been able to return to bury the dead, let alone count their number. But through these satellite images combined with graphic testimonies a picture of what is likely to be Boko Haram's deadliest attack ever is becoming clearer.'
BOKO HAREM'S TRAIL OF MURDER AND MAYHEM ACROSS NIGERIA
February 2014: The Jihadist group raided the Nigerian village of Izghe in the north of the country and murdered dozens - before going door-to-door and killing anyone they came across.
April 2014: Nearly 300 schoolgirls are abducted from the town of Chibok, which Boko Haram burned to the ground.
August 2014: The terror group kidnapped at least 97 people during raids on villages in Borno State. They killed 28 boys and men.
November 2014: 120 people killed in a bomb attack on a central Mosque in Kano - the principal city of northern Nigeria.
January 4, 2015: Boko Haram kidnaps 40 boys and young men, believed to be aged ten to 23, from a village in the Nigerian state of Borno.
Experts have estimated the brutal assault killed more than 2,000 people with reports of locals running over dead bodies to escape the carnage.
Another survivor - a man in his fifties - told Amnesty: 'They killed so many people. I saw maybe around 100 killed at that time in Baga. I ran to the bush. As we were running, they were shooting and killing.'
He hid in the bush and was later discovered by Boko Haram fighters, who detained him in Doron Baga for four days.
Those who fled describe seeing many more corpses in the surrounding bush area, and one woman said: 'I don't know how many, but there were bodies everywhere we looked.'
In Baga, a densely populated town less than two square kilometres in size, approximately 620 structures were damaged or completely destroyed by fire.
And in Doron Baga, more than 3,100 structures were damaged or destroyed by fire that ravaged most of the four square kilometre town.
Mr Eyre added: 'This week, Nigeria's Director of Defence Information stated that the number of people killed in Baga, including Boko Haram fighters, 'has so far not exceeded about 150'.
'These images, together with the stories of those who survived the attack, suggest that the final death toll could be much higher than this figure.'
Boko Haram fighters have repeatedly targeted communities for their perceived collaboration with the security forces.
Thousands of people have fled the violence across the border to Chad and to other parts of Nigeria.
Many of the wooden fishing boats along the shoreline, visible in the images taken on January 2, are no longer present in January 7 images - tallying with eye witnesses' testimony that desperate residents fled by boat across Lake Chad.
Amnesty are calling on Boko Haram to stop killing civilians. They insist the deliberate slaughter of of civilians and destruction of their property by Boko Haram are war crimes and crimes against humanity and must be duly investigated.
They are calling for the Nigerian government should take all possible legal steps to restore security in the north-east and ensure protections of civilians.
Boko Haram drew international condemnation when its fighters kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from a boarding school in north-east Chibok last year. Dozens escaped, but 219 remain missing.
THE 'MAD' BOKO HAREM JIHADI LEADER WHO'S OVERSEEN THE SLAUGHTER OF 16,000
The man orchestrating the deadly Boko Haram massacres in Nigeria is a boastful lunatic who revels in slaughter and chaos and is a 'master of disguise'.
Bloodthirsty Abubakar Shekau is one of the world’s most wanted men, with American authorities putting a $7million bounty on his head.
Master of disguise: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau points at the camera as he delivers one of his regular fanatical rants to the world
Shekau – said to be to fluent in four languages – also operates under a variety of different names which has only increased the mystery surrounding his true identity.
The elusive Islamist fanatic has led his brutal Boko Haram militants since 2009 into war in Africa, killing more than an estimated 16,225 people in that time.
The latest outrage he has led was the massacre of an estimated 2,500 people in northern Nigeria when his thugs razed two towns.
Last week, the terror group shocked the world when they are believed to have used girls as young as 10 as suicide bombers in two deadly attacks in northern Nigeria that killed at least 19 people.
Experts claim psychotic Shekau rarely communicates directly with members of the terror group and instead deals only with a handful of confidantes - much like former Al Qaeda terror chief Osama bin Laden.
Files on the US State Department of Justice claim he variously operates under identities that include Darul Tawheed, Abu Bakr Skikwa, Imam Abu Bakr Shiku, Abu Muhammad Abu Bakr Bin Muhammad Al Shakwi Al Muslimi Bishku and Abubakar Shakkau.
The four languages he speaks are listed as Arabic, Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri. Even his age remains unknown, with predictions between 38 and 49 believed to be most accurate.
Shekau is believed to have a wife and three children, although their whereabouts also remain unknown.
The Nigerian military has claimed several times to have killed the fanatic - only for him to appear in new videos proving he is still alive.
After one recent claim, he appeared in video to taunt the military's claims and laughed: 'Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath.'
Boko Haram – which means ‘Western education is forbidden' in Arabic – have shocked the world with their merciless slaughter of innocent men, woman and children across the north of Nigeria.
Shekau claimed leadership of the terror group in 2010, and was seen last week in a video praising the jihadists who murdered 17 people in the Paris attacks.
He has been variously described as ‘fearless’, a ‘gangster’ and a ‘loner’, which security sources believe give him an air of invincibility which makes him extremely dangerous.
The Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium has described Shekau as a ‘religious intellectual, yet also a gangster and vigilante as well as a mad leader’.
Under Shekau’s leadership, Boko Haram has continually targeted young children. In April 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped close to 300 girls from their school in northern Nigeria.
Innocent victims: Kidnapped schoolgirls are seen at an unknown location in this image taken from a video released by Boko Haram. The girls went missing in April 2014.
Support: Michelle Obama supported the #bringbackourgirls campaign after the kidnap
In a video message released three weeks later, Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, calling the girls slaves and threatening to sell them.
Their disappearance prompted a social media campaign with #bringbackourgirls, which was supported by Michelle Obama, First Lady of the USA.
Rumours also abound that Shekau escaped from the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri during the 1990s.
The fanatic regularly appears in videos to taunt the Nigerian military over their failings to prevent his group’s killings.
In one of Shekau's first videos, believed to have appeared online in 2012, the insurgent leader boasted of his bloodlust and said: ‘I enjoy killing...the way I enjoy slaughtering chickens and rams.’
It is believed the terrorist was born in Shekau village that borders Niger to poor farmer parents. They are then thought to have migrated south into northeast Nigeria.
A religious young man, he studied basic Islamic theology, before focusing on more hardline Sunni ideology and becoming a preacher.
In a 2012 interview, Grema Kawudima said Shekau was remembered as 'an easy-going fellow who would exchange banter with people in the neighbourhood. He was popular...a local theology student'.
After his religious studies, he is then understood to have attended Borno State College of Legal and Islamic Studies for higher studies on Islam.
He became increasingly radicalised and seized control of Boko Harem after founder Mohammed Yusuf was killed in a security crackdown on the terror group in 2009.
Since then, Shekau has pursued a relentless campaign of terror as the group has strengthened its deadly grip in Nigeria.
History of violence: In December 2014, two female suicide bombers - allegedly under the instruction of Boko Haram - killed at least four people in a busy market in Nigeria's busiest city, Kano (pictured)