Satellite images of Nigerian towns attacked by Boko Haram show widespread destruction and suggest a high death toll, Amnesty International says.
The images show some 3,700 structures damaged or destroyed in Baga and Doron Baga this month, Amnesty said.
Nigeria’s government has disputed reports that as many as 2,000 were killed, putting the toll at just 150.
Amnesty cited witnesses saying that militants had killed indiscriminately. It said the damage was “catastrophic”.
There has been a surge in violence linked to Boko Haram. In the past week there have been several attacks, including by suspected child suicide bombers.
Nigeria is to hold elections next month, amid growing doubts whether they can successfully go ahead in all parts of the country.
‘Wiped off the map’
Amnesty said the attack on Baga and Doron Baga, neighbouring towns in the far north-east of Nigeria, was the largest and deadliest Boko Haram assault that it had analysed. It said about 620 structures had been destroyed in Baga, and more than 3,100 in Doro Baga.
The before and after satellite images were taken on 2 January and 7 January. Healthy vegetation is shown in red on the graphics.
Many wooden fishing boats that dot the shoreline on 2 January are no longer visible five days later.Out of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.
“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,” Daniel Eyre, an Amnesty researcher, said in a statement.
“It represents a deliberate attack on civilians whose homes, clinics and schools are now burnt out ruins,” he said.