25 March 2014

Nigeria: Shekau Claims Responsibility for Attack On Giwa Barracks

Photo: Vanguard
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.

Presumed leader of the Boko Haram terrorist group Abubakar Shekau has, in a new video, claimed responsibility for the recent attacks on barracks and other attacks in the north-east, even as he declared total war on members of the youth vigilante called Civilian-JTF.

Shekau appeared in the video clad in a white gown upon which he wore a black life-jacket with a black turban on his head. A heavily bearded but healthy-looking Shekau looked directly into the camera as he spoke in Hausa which he interjected periodically with his native language, Kanuri.

Visibly angered by the roles members of the Civilian-JTF played in arresting his members during the attack, the terrorist said he had ordered all his followers across the country to now focus their attention on hunting down and killing members of the youth vigilante.

He denied the victory of the military over his members at the Giwa Barracks attack, even as he said he had succeeded in freeing over 2,000 detained members of his group, mostly leaders and warriors, from the military cell in the barracks.

Shekau, who reiterated his hatred for western education and western way of living, said all universities in the country should be closed down lest they suffer imminent attacks.

He has also threatened to kill all Islamic clerics who condemn his group's mission, even as he took credit for the killing of the renowned Zaria-based Islamic cleric, Sheik Albani.

Shekau's video message portrays him as a true lunatic: "The word 'Giwa' in Hausa means elephant; but I assure you that today the barracks bears no status of 'elephant'. It has now turned to pig barracks or dog barracks or rat barracks... Your name is not Civilian JTF but Civilian Trouble. My advice to you so-called Civilian-JTF is you either flee, take up arms, get conscripted into the army or police, because what I'm telling you is that I have started a war against you. It is now that I have started war against you. It has just begun... You don't know my madness, right? It is now that you will see the true face of my madness. I swear by Allah's holy name that I will slaughter you. I cannot be happy if I don't personally put my knife on your necks and slit your throats. Yes! I'll slaughter you! I'll slaughter you! And I'll slaughter you again and again... Now our religion and our way of worship is nothing but killings, killings and killings! Kill and slaughter but don't eat them...

"By Allah, I will kill you. killing is my job. Let's kill them all, we'd rather leave this world. Let the whole world perish! May Allah curse you!

"Oh! Allah, they are your servants but are they assisting (Goodluck) Jonathan, they are your servants who pray but are jesting with the Koran, they are your servants but are assisting Clinton and Obama... Work has started. And for your information, western education is forbidden. University is forbidden, you should vacate university! You should leave university, I hate university. You should quit university, I hate it, bastard.

"Western education is totally forbidden. Girls, you should return to your homes. In Islam it is allowed to take infidel women as slaves and in due course we will start taking women away and selling in the market...

"Nigerians, let me let you know that you are in serious disaster. Don't think we are northerners, because you are misunderstanding the whole thing. Let me make it crystal clear to you to save you from unnecessary distorted newspaper and radio analyses on issues you don't understand. We are not fighting the north, we are fighting the world. And you will see us fighting the world. This is our job.

"I promise that we will kill all your (Muslim) clerics. Just like I killed Albani and it was splashed all over the newspapers. I'll kill them all. Who was Albani? He was nothing. I'll kill all of them. I'll spare none but who follow Allah and the Prophet. Whoever follows Jews and the west is my enemy.

"My brethren wherever you are, in Abuja, Lagos, or the south-south, wherever you are, commence attacks. Even as an individual, take up your swords and slaughter anyone you come across in his sleep.

"My brethren, take up knives and start slaughtering people. Just pick up your knife and break into homes and kill. I heard some people asking Jonathan to relocate to the northeast to take charge of the fight against us, but let me tell you, Jonathan is too small. Let even Obama, the president of America, relocate to Nigeria and take charge; we will not be deterred."

I was forced to slit throat of man - female captive

Meanwhile, two women who were abducted by Boko Haram in the troubled north-east have given a harrowing tale of their escape from Boko Haram's den as captives.

23-year-old Liatu said she spent 15 days in Sambisa forest and was asked if she's a Christian or Muslim. She said that she told them that she was a Christian.

Liatu said: "On the 11th day in captivity, they brought a man to me and said that he liked me and I should convert to Islam so that he can marry me."

Liatu further explained that the insurgents were usually tipped off about any imminent attack by members of the Nigerian army. This allowed them to hide in caves and forests close to the Cameroonian border.

Liatu spent 15 days in captivity and refused to eat anything. After she was told about the proposed marriage, she made an extremely risky escape.

She said, "One of the captives stood up and said, 'You only die once. Who is ready to make a run for it?' Six of us jumped into one of the Boko Haram vehicles in the camp - a Volkswagen Golf.

"They chased us on motorbikes, shooting at the car until we got close to Bama town. Then they left and we got out of the car to continue on foot as there was a curfew in place. It was only then that I realised the three people on the backseat had all been shot dead."

19-year-old Janet was held for three months. She said that Boko Haram tried to turn her into a killer.

"They went to Gwoza and brought five people to the camp. They started slitting their throats in my presence; they then ordered me to slit one of their throats, I refused. I told them I can't do it. Then the wife of the leader of the group killed him instead."

Janet further claimed that she recognised some of the sect members, saying they were her neighbours in their village.

She said, "They were slitting people's throats with knives; both women and men were killed - especially the men who didn't agree to fight for them.

"Those that tried to escape were shot but they hardly ever used their guns to kill. They usually used knives. About 50 people were killed right in front of me."

More weapons captured as troops abort attacks on Bama, Ngurosoye

Troops on patrol during the weekend dislodged a band of terrorists who were about to attack some settlements on the outskirts of Bama and Ngurosoye.

About 18 terrorists died in the encounter. Sixteen burnt AK 47 rifles were found in the debris while five Pick-up vehicles, seven Golf cars and one Hillux truck were destroyed.

A total of 75 villagers were screened and released in the course of cordon-and-search in the adjoining communities.

According to a statement issued yesterday by the Defence Headquarters and signed by its director of information, Major General Chris Olukolade, "the purported bomb attack on a market in the vicinity as widely reported in the media is however yet to be verified".

The statement also disclosed further: "Troops eventually overran camps in the outskirts of Gombole, Mele, Kecheri, Dufrfada, Yuwe, and others around Mandara mountains and Sambisa forests after stiff resistance.

"Many terrorists died in the encounter, while a soldier lost his life and five others were wounded."

The Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) has also stepped up patrols of the banks of Lake Chad as well as surrounding communities in addition to air surveillance and patrols designed to smoke out the remnants of the terrorists.

The air raids on some camps sited on islands have also recorded successes in dislodging the terrorists located there.

"Cordon and search for the terrorists have been focused on thorough screening of the villagers in surrounding communities. Many terrorists have been identified and subsequently apprehended by troops in the process," the military said.

Meanwhile, troops' morale and fighting spirit have remained noticeably high while some of the terrorists' camps falling to the forces in the ongoing counter-terrorist campaign have been found deserted.

Food items earlier seized by terrorists from the villagers are often found stockpiled along with other items such as electronics and power generators. The camps were swiftly razed by the troops.

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