Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a massacre in the Nigerian town of Baga, which it largely destroyed. The message coincided with a meeting of regional leaders discussing how to stop the terrorist group.
"We killed the people of Baga. We indeed killed them, as our Lord instructed us in His Book," Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video released late on Tuesday.
Baga, a fishing village on the shores of Lake Chad, was besieged earlier this month by Boko Haram militants. Satellite images released by human rights watchdog Amnesty International purported to show the destruction of the town.
Eye witnesses to the violence have reported that bodies still line the streets. While the official death toll is not yet known, authorities have indicated that up to 2,000 people died in the massacre.
Shekau said in his latest video that the group was prepared to slaughter more people in its continued campaign against the Nigerian government.
"We will not stop. This is not much. You'll see," he said.
It was not immediately clear when or where the video was filmed.
Leaders mull coordinated response
The latest claim by the Islamist militant group coincided with a high-level meeting of regional leaders who worry that spillover violence in Chad, Niger and Cameroon will only worsen. Options being considered include deploying an African Union-mandated force.
On Saturday, Chad sent troops and equipment to Cameroon and Nigeria in a bid to help tackle the Islamist insurgency. "Heavy clashes" were reported in Cameroon on Tuesday.
On Monday, the United Nations Security Council spoke out against Boko Haram, the first time it had condemned the organization's actions as a whole. It has also urged leaders on the African continent to form a multinational force aimed at combating the group, which has increased the frequency and brutality of its attacks over the past year.
Boko Haram, which controls parts of northeastern Nigeria, is seeking to establish an Islamic state in Africa. Frequent raids, killings and suicide bomb attacks perpetrated by the jihadists have claimed at least 13,000 lives and displaced an estimated 1.5 million people.
kms/cmk (AFP, Reuters)