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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    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?

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora