The Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, has, in a newly released video, claimed responsibility for the recent attacks in different Borno and Yobe communities including Malumfatori, Bama, Biu, Konduga, Gamboru Ngala, Gwoza, and Damaturu.
Close to 100 people including about 14 soldiers were killed in the various attacks; with the latest being in Konduga over the weekend when about 44 people were killed when gunmen dressed in military uniform attacked worshippers in a mosque.
Mr. Shekau, who spoke in Hausa amidst intermittent triumphant laughter, said the military lied about its victories over their sect.
“The military is lying to the world about the battle we had with them; they lied that they have killed our members, but we are the ones that have killed the soldiers.
“We call on you all to repent and come to the ways of Allah. Forget about constitution and accept Shariah. We don’t have socialism, we don’t know communism, we don’t want federalism, but we are Muslims.
“You soldiers have claimed that you are powerful, that we have been defeated, that we are mad people; but how can a mad man successfully coordinate recent attacks in Gamboru, in Malumfatori, slaughter people in Biu, kill in Gwoza and in Bama where soldiers fled under our heavy fire power. We have killed countless soldiers and we are going to kill more. Our strength and firepower has surpassed that of Nigeria. Nigeria is no longer a big deal as far as we are concerned. We can now comfortably confront the United States of America.
“Let the world know that we have been enjoined by Allah to kill the unbelievers just like how we were enjoined to slaughter rams during Eidel Kabir. And we shall continue to kill those who strive to stand against the will of Allah by opposing Sharia. We don’t mind if we die doing this because it is even a blessing for us to die in this cause and gain paradise. So we are winning on either side. So it is never too late for you to repent and join us on the path of righteousness,” he said.
Boko Haram has been outlawed and declared terrorists by the Nigerian government. The U.S. has also declared Mr. Shekau and other Boko Haram leaders wanted and placed a bounty on them.
The claim by the sect that it is winning the battle against Nigerian soldiers differs significantly from that of the military which says it has killed and arrested hundreds of members of the sect and has dislodged a large number of its cells. The military has said it is winning the war against the insurgents.
Apart from the military action against the sect, the federal government is also negotiating with the sect in order to get them to lay down their arms. The government’s negotiating team, led by the Minister of Special Duties, had claimed just before the Ramadan fast, that it secured a ceasefire with the sect; a claim Mr. Shekau disputed in an earlier video.