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Boko Haram boasts of slaughter as it rampages in Cameroon and Nigeria

Women who have fled violence in Nigeria line up for food at a refugee welcoming center in Ngouboua, Chad. (Emmanuel Braun/Reuters)

As thousands of Nigerians and Cameroonians fled for their lives from rampaging Boko Haram fighters, the leader of the violent Islamist group reportedly bragged in a video released Tuesday about the slaughter in the town of Baga and promised that there would be more to come.

“We killed the people of Baga,” Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau boasted in the video, first reported by Agence France-Presse. “We indeed killed them, as our Lord instructed us in His Book. … We will not stop. This is not much. You’ll see.” The video could not be independently authenticated. It was similar in format to earlier Boko Haram videos, featuring Shekau in fatigues surrounded by masked fighters.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau claims in a video, which could not be independently authenticated, that his fighters were behind the attack on a Nigerian town that killed scores of civilians. (Video: Reuters)

There’s still no reliable count of the number killed around Jan. 3 in the Baga area of northeastern Nigeria, with estimates ranging from hundreds to 2,000. Amnesty International described it as “devastation of catastrophic proportions in two towns, one of which was almost wiped off the map in the space of four days.”

Boko Haram, in addition to killing scores of people razed the two towns, Baga and Doron Baga, damaging or destroying some 3,700 structures.

Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad, was supposed to serve as a headquarters for a regional African force to fight Boko Haram, an effort which has yet to produce significant joint activity in part because of mistrust among the countries involved in the effort.

But Nigerians and people in the neighboring border areas of Cameroon didn’t need any videos to take Boko Haram’s threats seriously.The savagery was terrifying and sent a chilling message about things to come. And in the wake of the Baga attack, Boko Haram attacked the village of Mabass in the far north region of Cameroon early Sunday, according to the Associated Press, kidnapping up to 60 people.

The AP reported:

The insurgents are looting food and livestock, and a humanitarian and food crisis looms, the minister of territorial administration and decentralization Rene Emmanuel Sadi said Tuesday.
Students and teachers are among those who have fled their homes. More than 10 schools were deserted after attacks Sunday, adding to the about 140 schools that have shut their doors because of the insurgency bleeding over into Cameroon, said Cameroon’s minister of education Monouna Fotso.