Boko Haram chief threatens attacks in Nigeria’s oil region

Islamist leader Abubakar Shekau warns Nigeria Boko Harum will attack the oil producing Niger Delta in an escalation of bloody campaign

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 10:44am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 February, 2014, 10:44am

The leader of radical Islamist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, threatened attacks in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta region in a new video released on Wednesday.

“You will in coming days see your refinery bombed,” Shekau warned in the 28-minute video obtained by reporters through the same channel as previous clips.

It is unclear when the video was recorded. “Niger Delta, you are in trouble,” Shekau said, speaking in Hausa, the dominant language in northern Nigeria.

The video was shot in an open field, where Shekau was surrounded by an armoured tank, two military trucks and about a dozen gun-bearing soldiers.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, derives more than 90 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings from oil.

The US government, which has designated Shekau a terrorist, has offered a reward of up to US$7 million for information on his whereabouts.

“The reason why I will kill you is you are infidels.”
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

In the video, Shekau – who admitted killing an Islamic cleric, Adam Albani, about two weeks ago in the northern Nigerian city of Zaria – also threatened to kill other Muslim and political figures in the country, including the respected Shehu of Borno, a prominent Muslim leader, and the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, who was attacked by suspected Islamists last year.

He slammed them as “infidels”.

“The reason why I will kill you is you are infidels. You follow democracy. Whoever follows democracy is an infidel. This is Shekau. This is why I am in enmity with you,” he said, his comments interspersed with gunshots fired in the air by him and his aides.

The Boko Haram leader also listed former military heads of state, Generals Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida, as “infidels”.

He vowed that his group will henceforth destroy any schools whenever it sees them.

Boko Haram which in Hausa means Western education is evil, has said it is fighting to create a strict Islamic state in the country’s mainly Muslim north.

Shekau, dressed in a military camouflage along with his lieutenants, mounted the armoured tank and fired shots in the air at the beginning of the video.

He urged his fighters to “hold on to your weapons and continue fighting”.

“Let them understand that our work is not confined to Yobe, Borno and Adamawa. Make them understand that we are not restricted by emergency rule. They should understand we are under the canopy of Allah.”

He said that his militant group is fighting Christians “wherever we meet them and those who believe in democracy, those who pursue Western education ... we will kill whoever practices democracy.”

The video was released 48 hours after Borno state governor claimed that the sect was more armed than the regular Nigerian security forces.

The governor of embattled Borno state, where Boko Haram is most active, warned President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday that the military is outgunned in its fight against the sect and more troops are urgently needed.

“We are in a state of war. This is what I came to tell the president,” Kashim Shettima told reporters after the meeting.

“I made it emphatically clear to Mr President that Boko Haram are better armed and better motivated,” than the security forces, he said in Abuja.

He made the call following the latest massacre in Borno of 106 people in the mostly Christian village of Izghe on Saturday.

A presidential spokesman on Tuesday has sought to downplay Shettima’s claim.

The Islamist uprising has killed thousands since 2009.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is roughly evenly divided between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.