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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs