The Boko Haram sect and Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday traded claims over Gwoza town in Borno State which the insurgents, in a new video, said they had seized and placed under an Islamic caliphate.
The hoodlum that parades himself as leader of outlawed terrorist sect Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, yesterday in a fresh video declared that the "captured territory" of Gwoza had ceased to become a part of Nigeria; he declared it a part of a new Islamic caliphate.
Shekau, who appeared in his usual military fatigue with an AK 47 assault rifle hanging across his chest, was surrounded by other thugs dressed in similar attire but with their faces hooded. He delivered his message in both Arabic and Hausa from a spiral-bound booklet.
Exhibiting his usual erratic and unstable character, the terrorist lampooned the American government and other leaders of Europe, calling them infidels whom he would not be afraid of.
He also bragged about his "victory" in Abuja, Yobe, Adamawa, and Borno states, even as he threatened to continue killing members of the Civilian-JTF.
Here is a translation of his message that lasted about 16 minutes: "We give thanks to almighty God who has helped us to detonate bombs in Yobe's town called Damaturu. We still thank God for the successful bombing of Damboa, and other parts of Nigeria.
"We are grateful to Allah for the big victory he granted our members in Gwoza and made the town part of our Islamic caliphate.
"Oh you people, here I am Abubakar Shekau, still standing on my feet. I am still the leader of Jama'atu Ahlissunnah Lid Da'awati wal Jihad; that country called Nigeria -- a name we don't believe in but forced to address as such because it has no better name. For us there is nothing like Nigeria but Islamic caliphate, because God the Creator of the world and the earth we are all standing is the sole owner of the earth and no one else. So we have no option but to obey the owner of the sky that is above us, even as He is the owner of the earth. We Muslims obey our Creator.
"Oh people of the world, Allah has granted us victory in the town of Gwoza, not because of our might but because we are committed to do his work. Oh people, I choose to deliver this message in order to refute the lies being spread by the government about the operations we had in recent times.
"We warn the vigilante, called Civilian-JTF, to back down; if not, there will be no place for them to hide. We have evidences of how you killed some of our brethren whom you would ask if they were Boko Haram before you killed them; we knew how you humiliated them by asking them if they had ever carried guns or killed someone... we knew everything about the evil you committed against our brethren.
"We still have the magnanimity of asking you to repent; because you will never succeed in this way by the grace of Allah; and I swear by Allah that we will never stop killing you, because Allah commanded us to kill people like you. If we pity you and spare you, one day you will become infidels; so to us having pity on you is an act of disbelief. You can continue to run or hide your identities in women's attire, but we will get to you and remove the women clothing off you; then while you are shouting for mercy we will strike, smash your heads and kill you all. Even if you don't do anything to us we will kill you... We would do it even to avenge our brethren you killed in large numbers.
"We don't joke with religion (quoting from the Koran). There is no hypocrisy in this religion. It is only the truth. Therefore, woe unto you, vigilante. Woe unto you. It is Allah that torments you and, even tomorrow, Allah will torment you. By Allah you will never achieve your aim. I swear by Allah.
"To the Americans... who is America in the sight of Allah? Who is America in the sight of Allah? Who is Israel in the sight of Allah? Who is France in the sight of Allah? It is only when we don't have firm belief. We don't fear you at all. We were the ones who carried out all these attacks. Not just Gwoza -- all the attacks you see in Borno (state) or any country, we are the ones carrying them out.
"This is the life for us; it is our world and we are living it out. How can one fear these American people? If one is indeed a believer, he need not to. How can one fear these people (America) if one is indeed a believer?
"This is the speech I have to make, which is a warning of worse things to come. Better submit to Allah before it becomes too late."
Shekau's claims empty - DHQ
In a swift reaction, the Defence Headquarters has dismissed the video as empty claims by the leader of the Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, that the sect had seized Gwoza from the Nigerian government.
In a statement, Defence spokesman Major Gen. Chris Olukolade insisted that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country remained intact.
The statement said: "The claim is empty. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nigerian state is still intact. Any group of terrorists laying claim to any portion of the country will not be allowed to get away with that expression of delusion and crime.
"Appropriate military operations to secure that area from the activities of the bandits are still ongoing."
20 Killed, 85 injured in fresh Taraba crisis
No fewer than 20 people were reportedly killed, 85 injured and 50 houses razed down in Nbishu and Wumban villages in Wukari local government area of Taraba State when unknown gunmen invaded the villages.
A resident of Wumban village, Mr Jeshua Maude, who spoke to LEADERSHIP on phone, said that the unidentified gunmen numbering over 60 invaded the two villages about 3:25am on Friday and Sunday mornings and engaged in shooting and burning of houses.
Maude confirmed the incident to LEADERSHIP, noting that over 20 people were killed by the attackers.
He also stressed that two dispensaries and two churches were also razed down by the attackers.
When contacted on phone, the spokesman of the state police command, ASP Joseph Kwaji, told LEADERSHIP that only 13 people were killed by the attackers in Nbishi and Wumba villages.
Kwaji added that the attackers were said to have come from Ibi and Bantaji in Wukari local government area of the state.
He noted that the command had since on Sunday drafted its men to the affected villages to calm down the ugly situation while investigation in the matter continued.