Premium Times (Abuja)

19 March 2013

Nigeria: Boko Haram Threatens JTF Spokesperson, Demands Prisoners Exchange for French Nationals

Photo: vanguard
Nigeria's Boko Haram cartoon.

The Boko Haram sect, in a new video on Monday, said they would not release the seven French nationals in their custody unless the governments of Nigeria and Cameroon release imprisoned members of their sect.

The sect, in the video by its leader, Abubakar Shekau, also threatened the spokesman of Joint Task Force, JTF, in Borno, Lt Colonel Sagir Musa. It accused Mr. Musa, a Lieutenant Colonel, of misinforming the public about the sect's attack on Monguno military barracks in Borno State.

Mr. Shekau appeared in the video surrounded by several hooded gunmen standing upon a pile of different shapes and sizes of arms and ammunition. He said the weapons were those they took away from the military armoury after they bombed the Monguno barrack.

The Kanuri-born Boko Haram leader, who spoke in Hausa and Arabic, said they still have the seven French nationals in custody; and would continue to keep them until the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria released their members and family detained in the two countries.

The seven French tourists, members of a family, were kidnapped last month in a neighbouring Cameroonian community, before they were transported to Nigeria.

The group had earlier released a video of the victims.

Mr. Shekau also warned journalists to avoid phantom groups parading themselves as Boko Haram, even as he officially declared one Abu Zinnira as the new spokesperson that journalists must deal with henceforth.

Below is the full translation of the extremist group's leader

"I, Abu-Muhammad ibn Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Jamaatul Ahili Sunna li Dawati wal Jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram, is hereby passing across this message with the aim of enlightening the world on the issue of religion of Allah and how important it is to us. Anybody that is found standing against our religion should know that it is not a difficult task for us to die defending it. That is the pronouncement from me in my capacity as Leader.

'We have a mission of establishing Sharia in this country and the rest of the world. We are the ones holding hostage the seven French nationals. We are holding them in custody because the leaders of Cameroon and Nigeria have also detained our brethren both women and children under dehumanising condition. It is against every rules of engagement to hold women and children as prisoners of war.

'Our message to the world is that these seven French will not be released until when we see our detained brethren released.

"Oh you French leaders it would be difficult for your to secure release of these hostages until we see our brethren walk in freedom.

And if you make mistakes of securing their release by force, then we shall fight you back with the might of Allah.

'Secondly, all those that are speaking on our behalf without our authority, thinking that by that they would satisfy their earthly needs, should understand that they would not gain anything beneficial from it here on earth in the hereafter, if they fail to go back to God and their religion.

'I also call on all media practitioners especially those airing or publishing anything that comes to them concerning us, you should know that we are not perturbed by your publications, and we have nothing against you. But our caveat is any message that comes to you journalists that is not directly from us, don't ever ascribe such to our name. You are free to publish anything but don't credit us with what we have not said. Our new spokesman is Abu Zinnira, and if our message does not come to you through him, then it is not from us. If it is not from Abu Zinnira then it is not from us; I repeat, if it is not from Abu Zinnira, it is certainly not from us. If I have to talk directly, all journalists conversant with me knows my voice even without introduction.

We are saying this because one elements are going about faking to be us, but the can never be us because we have come a long way in our mission.

'We have also been hearing of one Lt Colonel Sagir Musa, one President (Goodluck) Jonathan saying they would not dialogue with us. That is not our focus. Our focus is on the Owner of Heavens and Earth. He is our guiding leader, His religion is what we practice, and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) is what we are complying with. Anyone who wages war against our religion would be fought back fiercely and such a person will not even have the chance of knowing when we would bring our fight to him. And if your goal is to kill us, we welcome it. But you will not know your mistakes until you are done. We pray you kill us on the path of religious struggle so that we can enjoy the mercies of Allah.

'To the little brat called Lt Col Sagir we heard of your claims that your troops, JTF, had ambushed our men on the way to Monguno, killed several of our men and even retrieve four of our vehicles. These are all lies unbecoming of a soldier. It is a shame.

'The fact is our members went to Monguno and easily invaded the army barracks, killed unknown number of soldiers, we packed unknown quantum of arms and ammunition which was filled in two trucks, we burnt down the excess from the armoury. They left with gallantry chanting Allahu Akbar. Here are the arms in display. We have 15 Browning rifles in our armoury now, all from Monguno barracks.

'The arms we have is enough for us to bring down the entire Borno state. None of our members died as claimed by soldiers except for three persons. But the soldiers we killed in Monguno barracks. But Sagir Musa should continue to deceive the world, one day he would fall in our trap and we will deal with him, since we have his photograph with us. We know all your movement around Maiduguri in a small car. You have no place to hide from us, except you leave Maiduguri town. You shall see, and you shall see'.

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