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Boko Haram Militants in Nigeria Storm Key Base in Baga

LONDON — Boko Haram militants stormed a key multinational military base in Nigeria, killing an unknown number of people and seizing weapons and vehicles as soldiers fled, a local senator said Monday. Sen. Ahmed Zanna told NBC News that government troops put up some resistance when a "large number" of militants from the extremist Islamist group overran the base near the remote northeast town of Baga on Saturday, but later joined civilians fleeing into the bush and across nearby Lake Chad in canoes.

"The canoes were overloaded and some people drowned," said Zanna, senator for Borno state, where the attack took place. "We cannot yet quantify the number of people killed." Baga is near Nigeria's borders with Chad and Niger. The compound attacked Saturday was home to the Multi-National Joint Task Force drawing troops from all three countries, but Zanna told NBC News that only troops from Nigeria were stationed there at the time. Boko Haram is waging a bloody insurgency with the aim of establishing an Islamic state in northeast Nigeria. Violence attributed to the militants and government troops claimed 10,000 lives last year, according to some estimates.

Who Are Nigeria's Boko Haram? 0:43

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- Alexander Smith