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Nigeria military base attack kills at least 20

| Sunday, March 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Fighters linked to the radical Islamic terrorist network Boko Haram attacked a military base in Nigeria's north on Sunday in an assault that left at least 20 people dead, as the network's leader denied any peace talks with Nigeria's government.

The attack in the village of Monguno, about 125 miles from the city of Maiduguri, punctuated the video statement by Abubakar Shekau that said Nigeria will remain under attack by the group until the multiethnic nation is ruled under Islamic law.

Shekau threatened the man who in recent months claimed to be a leader of Boko Haram and said that the group wanted to agree to a cease-fire with Nigeria's security forces.

The attack, coupled with the recent kidnappings of foreigners claimed by Boko Haram and its affiliates, offered fresh doubts about the ability of Nigeria's weak central government to stop the bloodshed, despite its deployment of more security forces in the region.

“Whoever kills any of our members should await a grave retaliation from us,” Shekau warns in the video in the Hausa language of Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north. “We will continue waging war against them until we succeeded in establishing an Islamic state in Nigeria.”

In the attack on Monguno fighters arrived in sport utility vehicles and killed a local village leader, witnesses said. The fighters later attacked a barracks at Monguno with gunfire and explosives, witnesses said.

In a statement, military spokesman Lt. Col. Sagir Musa said that 20 “Boko Haram terrorists” were killed, without acknowledging that at least one civilian had been killed. Musa also did not say if any soldiers had been wounded or killed in the attack.

Nigeria's military routinely downplays civilian and soldier casualty figures.

Another security official, confirmed the attack occurred, but acknowledged details remain sketchy.

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