Boko Haram: Shekau releases video, claims responsibility for Christmas, New Year attacks
Leader of the deadly Islamic sect (Boko Haram), Abubakar Shekau on Tuesday released a video message insisting the sect is still alive despite the Federal Government and Nigerian military claims of degrading the radical group.
The wanted insurgent leader released his first video message in months amid a surge in violence casting doubt on the Nigerian government’s claim that the jihadist group is defeated.
“We are in good health and nothing has happened to us,” said Shekau in the 31-minute video message spoken in the Hausa language common across northern Nigeria.
“Nigerian troops, police and those creating mischief against us can’t do anything against us, and you will gain nothing,” he said.
“We carried out the attacks in Maiduguri, in Gamboru, in Damboa. We carried out all these attacks.”
The video then shows footage from a Christmas Day attack on a military checkpoint in Molai village on the outskirts of the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, which the military said was thwarted by troops after one hour of battle.
Boko Haram fighters in torn clothes were shown shooting from the back of battered pickup trucks.
Shekau’s message comes during an acceleration of Boko Haram attacks and just days after the jihadists killed 25 people outside Maiduguri, the birthplace of the Islamist insurgency.
In December, Boko Haram attacked convoys of Nigerian soldiers and dispatched suicide bombers into crowded markets in towns across northeast Nigeria.
At least 50 people were killed in November when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque in Adamawa state.
But Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said in his New Year address that Boko Haram has been “beaten”.
The group has however refuted claims that it has been defeated. The leaders have severally insisted that rather than being degraded, they were daily planning on how to wreck more havoc.