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 British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid