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May 29, 2013

Boko Haram Chief Says Nigerian Offensive Failing

by VOA News

The leader of the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram says his forces are beating back a military offensive aimed at stopping the group's four-year insurgency.

In a video released to news agencies, Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau said Nigerian soldiers encountering militants have run away and thrown down their arms in flight.

Shekau called on like-minded Islamists in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria to join the fight to create an Islamic state in Nigeria.

The video shows the militant leader dressed in camouflage with an AK-47 rifle beside him. The comments are his first since the start of the military's offensive against Boko Haram on May 15.

Thousands of troops have been deployed to three northeastern Nigerian states where President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency.

The military says it has captured more than 100 Boko Haram militants, killed others, and destroyed many of the militant group's camps. The claims are impossible to verify, however, because of blocked roads and the fact that phone lines in the region are not working.

Boko Haram launched its insurgency against the government in 2009. Boko Haram related violence, including deaths by Nigerian security forces, has killed more than 3,000 people.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.