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Before-and-after satellite photos show the scale of Boko Haram's worst-ever attack

In the first week of January, Nigerian rebel group Boko Haram attacked the town of Baga in Northeast Nigeria. The Nigerian military fled almost immediately, leaving civilians unprotected as Boko Haram spent days slaughtering hundreds or even thousands of people. Casualty estimates are thus far unreliable — in part because the militants devastated the town so thoroughly that survivors were not able to bury or even count the dead — but observers believe that the attack is the worst atrocity that Boko Haram has ever committed.

Amnesty International has now released satellite images from before and after the attack that clearly show the horrifying destruction that occurred. Slide the bar back and forth to see the changes:

The image on the left was taken on January 2, 2015, before the Boko Haram attack. The image on the right was taken on January 7, 2015, after the attack. Red areas show healthy vegetation. The magnified inset in the image on the left shows intact trees and structures before the attack, and the inset on the image on the right shows the same area heavily burned afterwards. (Digital Globe via Amnesty International)

This second set of images shows buildings in an area of Baga before and after Boko Haram burned them:

The image on the left was taken on January 2, 2015, before the Boko Haram attack. The image on the right was taken on January 7, 2015, after the attack. Red areas show healthy vegetation.(Digital Globe via Amnesty International)

These attacks are, obviously, appalling. Unfortunately, as Max Fisher wrote last week, they are unlikely to stop soon, because the Nigerian government and military have shown little interest in confronting Boko Haram. Indeed, the military commits its own attacks on civilians in Northern Nigeria — including an attack on Baga itself in April 2013.