January 20, 2015 / 10:44 PM / 3 years ago

Nigeria Boko Haram 'leader' claims Baga attack in new video

ABUJA (Reuters) - A man purporting to be Islamist Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau on Tuesday claimed an attack on the northeastern town of Baga in which scores of civilians were killed when the insurgents seized a multinational military base.

The insurgents, who invaded Baga at the start of the year, razed many buildings and homes in the week that followed, shooting civilians as they tried to flee, witnesses said.

Some local officials put the death toll as high as 2,000, although the military said it was 150.

The video was in the trademark Boko Haram style, with the bearded man claiming to be Shekau in combat fatigues talking in the northern Nigerian Hausa language surrounded by masked gunmen. The military says it killed the real Shekau.

"We are the ones that carried out the attack and it is just the tip of the iceberg," the man says. "There are more coming."

Commenting on weapons seized from Baga, he says they are "enough to annihilate Nigeria."

Soldiers fled the area after the nearby army base, which is the headquarters of a multinational force comprising troops from Chad, Niger and Cameroon, by Lake Chad was overrun. Chad and Cameroon are being drawn into the fight against Boko Haram, but mistrust has hampered cooperation.

The main claiming to be Shekau taunted the leaders of Cameroon, Niger and Chad: Paul Biya, Mahamadou Issoufou and Idris Deby.

He also made it clear he doesn't care for either Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian, or his main opposition contender in Feb. 14 presidential elections Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim.

"Jonathan you are in trouble," he says. "And Buhari, do you think he is a true Muslim? He's an infidel."

Reporting by Isaac Abrak; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by James Dalgleish

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