Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
The wanted leader of the outlawed Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, has emerged in a new video making it clear that the group’s agitation was a religious fight against Christians and the Christian-led federal government.
Shekau, who has a N50 million bounty on his head, threatened to carry out vicious attacks during the Yuletide season, particularly against Christians.
“They try to brainwash the people that we are fighting an ethnic war. No, we are fighting a religious war, we are fighting Jonathan, we are fighting Christians. If you are not lucky you will not celebrate this your December. If you are not lucky this December you will not go to your churches or you will celebrate it in fear,” he taunted.
Shekau’s claims about the sects agenda against Christians is, however, untrue as the Boko Haram sect has carried out attacks on several mosques and Muslim interests, killing scores of Muslim faithful in the process.
In the new video, the wanted man also took responsibility for the attack on a military barracks in Bama, Borno state on December 20.
He also claimed that the sect inflicted huge fatalities on the Nigerian military.
A visibly excited Shekau who was surrounded by some members of his gang said the victory recorded in Bama was unprecedented and came as a shock to the group.
He said had he received clear instructions from Allah, he and his men would have feasted on the remains of the soldiers killed, attributing the success of the attack to God.
“It is in the same Bama that our brothers pulverized 21 armoured tanks. People in multitudes were killed, bodies scattered all over and the sight would astonish any onlooker. Soldiers hid under blankets in their rooms and our fighters pursued them and blew out their brains. This is to show our muslim brethren that victory comes from Allah,” he said.
“We were amazed by the victory in Damaturu, then a greater victory was achieved in Maiduguri and now Bama operation is better than Maiduguri. And tomorrow we will go to….”, he added, before his speech was interrupted with shouts of “Allahu Akbar”.
As for the N50 million bounty placed on him by the federal government, Shekau said: “What is N50 million. Do you know what we are doing? Your armoured tank is worth more than N50 million and we burnt it. Haven’t we burnt your aircraft? What is N50 million. We do not worship money.”
The United States of America had also promised a reward of $7 million to anyone who can turn in the sect leader but Shekau boasted that he could never be caught as he receives protection from Allah.
“It is difficult indeed. The way you hide Jonathan in Aso Rock and hide Obama in White House, so does Allah hide me under His protection. You are with Jonathan and Obama while I am with Allah. Let’s play then,” he said.
Confirming the gravity of the Bama attack, the director, Defence Information, Chris Olukolade, a Major-General, said high caliber weapons such as anti-aircraft and rocket propelled guns were “freely used” in the operation which lasted several hours.
He had said that attack was carried out by terrorists who came from cells located across the Nigerian border with Cameroun, but that they were repelled by ground troops backed by the Air Force.
Olukolade said details of the casualties recorded would be released as soon as search operations in the area are concluded, but its been more than one week now with no details from the Army and the Boko Haram sect now claims to have had an upper hand in the exchange of gunfire.