News / Africa

New Video Attributed to Boko Haram Threatens Long War

A poster advertises for the search of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in Baga village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, in the north-eastern state of Borno, Nigeria, May 13, 2013.
A poster advertises for the search of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in Baga village on the outskirts of Maiduguri, in the north-eastern state of Borno, Nigeria, May 13, 2013.
Heather Murdock
In Nigeria, many people believe Abubakar Shekau leads Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group blamed for thousands of deaths. A man who sounds like Shekau is heard in a new audio message distributed to journalists, raising questions about claims the terrorist is dead.

Boko Haram used to post its videos on YouTube, but now it sends copies to a couple of journalists in northern Nigeria who distribute them to trusted colleagues and eventually the news agencies. Often the videos are transferred to audio-only files to accommodate the shoddy communications network in northern Nigeria.

This is the latest Boko Haram audio file making its way around Nigeria. It is distinctly the voice of Abubakar Shekau, or a very good impersonation of him. Speaking in the local Hausa language, he says Boko Haram has seized enough weapons to maintain a sustained war to turn Nigeria into his version of an Islamic state, which includes death for non-believers.

But he does not take responsibility for any specific recent attacks, most notably the September 29 raid on a college dormitory where about 40 students were killed, some while they were sleeping.

Nigerian authorities say Boko Haram is losing its power in northern Nigeria. Army spokesperson Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru says, “Our operations in the northeast have continued to [destroy] terrorist activities, thereby denying them freedom of action. For the last few weeks there were incidences of Boko Haram terrorists, unprovoked malicious attack and wanton destruction of life and property.”
He says Boko Haram is still conducting attacks, but the military is moving in on the group and apprehending suspects.

Other authorities say that recent security forces successes against Boko Haram include the killing of Shekau.

This is a video released last week of a man who looks and sounds like Shekau saying he is alive. Security forces later told Nigerian newspapers the video was doctored to “sustain a non-existent continuum in leadership.”

But some analysts say both the Boko Haram statements - whoever they came from - and the security forces' claims are a smokescreen, designed by powerful politicians to keep the public confused and the northeast in chaos.

Clement Nwankwo, who heads the Policy and Legal Advocacy Center in Abuja, says, “If you have a military presence in virtually all parts of the north then you are able to determine the number of people that come and vote. If there is fear then it means that a lot of people in the area where you think you do not have support do not necessarily come out and vote.”

During the past four years, Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for attacks on schools, churches, mosques, security forces, banks and the government. Nwankwo says in the past some authorities have declared Shekau dead, while others maintained he was alive.

The only thing 100 percent verifiable, he says, is that innocent people continue to be killed.

Abdulkareem Haruna contributed to this report from Maiduguri

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid