News / Africa

Boko Haram Leader Denies Truce

A grab made on July 13, 2013 from a video obtained by AFP shows the leader of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau, dressed in camouflage and holding an Kalashnikov AK-47. (AFP photo/Boko Haram)A grab made on July 13, 2013 from a video obtained by AFP shows the leader of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau, dressed in camouflage and holding an Kalashnikov AK-47. (AFP photo/Boko Haram)
x
A grab made on July 13, 2013 from a video obtained by AFP shows the leader of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau, dressed in camouflage and holding an Kalashnikov AK-47. (AFP photo/Boko Haram)
A grab made on July 13, 2013 from a video obtained by AFP shows the leader of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau, dressed in camouflage and holding an Kalashnikov AK-47. (AFP photo/Boko Haram)
Heather Murdock
After the Nigerian government announced that militant group Boko Haram had agreed to a cease-fire, Abubakar Shekau, the man believed to be the group’s leader, released a video denying the claim.  While Shekau called for increased violence, some analysts say Boko Haram is fractured and some part of the group may have actually agreed to a cease-fire. 

The latest video released by Abubakar Shekau makes considerable use of video editing tools, like a cartoon instant-camera printing a picture of Shekau, which spins around as it fills the screen.

Speaking in Arabic, his native Hausa language and even a little in English, Shekau says he is the leader of the militant group known popularly by its nickname, Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful” in Hausa.

He said the government’s announcement of a truce agreement was a “farce” and there will be no peace until Western-type schools are replaced with Islamic schools.  He also called for the end of constitutional law and democracy.

He praised the recent massacre of students and teachers in Yobe State, where as many as 42 people died when gunmen opened fire and threw explosives in a secondary school.  Most of the victims were children.  Shekau calls for further violence against schools and teachers, but claims it was not his men that killed the children.

Analysts say even though Shekau says it was not his men, it could have been others who call themselves part of the group.

Boko Haram is shadowy and ever-changing, says John Campbell, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria.

“I think this takes us back to the perennial question of what is Boko Haram.  It is highly diffused, by definition fragmented, made up of many different elements, not a centrally organized organization,” he said.

Residents survey vehicles damaged after a bomb blast at a primary school in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's Borno state, February 29, 2012.Residents survey vehicles damaged after a bomb blast at a primary school in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's Borno state, February 29, 2012.
x
Residents survey vehicles damaged after a bomb blast at a primary school in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's Borno state, February 29, 2012.
Residents survey vehicles damaged after a bomb blast at a primary school in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's Borno state, February 29, 2012.
Boko Haram has been blamed for thousands of deaths since it began attacking churches, schools, government offices, security forces, media houses, banks and markets in 2009.  Security forces have been accused of ratcheting up the violence by killing suspects instead of arresting them and holding people indefinitely without charges.
Campbell says Boko Haram appears to have a basic criminal element as well, evidenced by regular attacks on banks.

The Nigerian government has announced successful peace talks with Boko Haram at least three times in the past year, claims that were later denied by Shekau.  But Campbell says because the group is splintered, both the government and Shekau could be telling the truth.

"Possibly you could have a cease-fire with some part of it, but not other parts,” he said.

Thousands of troops were deployed to three northern Nigerian states in May and the region has been locked down in a state of emergency ever since. Picture taken June 6, 2013. (Heather Murdock/VOA)Thousands of troops were deployed to three northern Nigerian states in May and the region has been locked down in a state of emergency ever since. Picture taken June 6, 2013. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
x
Thousands of troops were deployed to three northern Nigerian states in May and the region has been locked down in a state of emergency ever since. Picture taken June 6, 2013. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
Thousands of troops were deployed to three northern Nigerian states in May and the region has been locked down in a state of emergency ever since. Picture taken June 6, 2013. (Heather Murdock/VOA)
​Three northern Nigerian states have been under emergency rule for two months, after President Goodluck Jonathan sent thousands of troops to fight Boko Haram.  The military has claimed to have killed scores of militants, arrested hundreds and re-taken Boko Haram-occupied territories - claims that can not be independently verified because of roadblocks and shut-down mobile phone service.

University of Abuja Institute for Anti-Corruption Studies Kabir Mato says another crisis is brewing in those states.  Farmers have been cut off from their fields by emergency rule and the already poor region is growing more hungry.
Mato says if Nigeria's military does not relax the emergency rule security gains might be short lived, because poverty is driving the insurgency.

“To me that is the only way you can forestall the possibility of plunging into a deeper ocean of poverty in the next five months, in the next six months, the next one year, which again has the implication of the resurgence of more serious violence," said Mato.

Other analysts say it is fanaticism, not poverty that has made northern Nigeria so dangerous.

In the latest video, an AK-47 rifle rests on Shekau’s shoulder as he rails against what he calls the “infidel government.”  And while this leader is clearly all about ideology, it is not clear who his foot soldiers are or what their reasons are for fighting. 

Ardo Hazzad contributed to this report from Bauchi.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
July 15, 2013 3:54 AM
Does this man know he wants eastern education in africa?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs