The leader of Nigeria’s Islamofascist group Boko Haram said his fighters now ruled the captured north-eastern town of Gwoza by Islamic law, in the first video to state a territorial claim in more than five years of violent insurrection. His message also contained taunts for Western governments and compared democracy to incest.
SMH Abubakar Shekau, who leads the insurgents, said in a video that the group would enforce Islamic law in Gwoza, a town of about 250,000 people, in Borno state, about 850 kilometres north-east of the capital, Abuja.
His forces have killed thousands since launching an uprising in 2009, and are seen as the biggest security threat to the continent’s leading energy producer.
In the video, which was released late on Sunday, the militant, who says he is fighting to create an Islamic state in religiously-mixed Nigeria, said his forces had taken control of the hilly border town of Gwoza, near the frontier with Cameroon.
“Allah has granted us success in Gwoza because we have risen to do Allah’s work,” Mr Shekau said, reading out a statement off a notebook, with two masked gunmen on each side of him and three four-wheel-drive vehicles behind him in thinly forested bush.
“Allah commands us to rule Gwoza by Islamic law. In fact, he commands us to rule the rest of the world, not only Nigeria, and now we have started.” “The claim is empty,” Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters said on its Twitter account late Sunday. “The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nigerian state is still intact.”
Boko Haram has been intensifying its campaign of violence ahead of elections scheduled for next February. It killed more than 2000 people in the first six months of the year, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch, most of whom had died in gun and bomb attacks on villages in the majority-Muslim north.
Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency said that fighting has displaced more than 400,000 people in the nation of about 170 million.
In an attack on Sunday in the remote north-eastern town of Gamboru. “They were shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ [God is Greater] and were shooting sporadically,” Alice Adejuwon, a businesswoman and resident of Gamboru, said. “We saw corpses on the streets as we ran out of the town.”
The video includes footage of what appeared to be an attack on Gwoza, showing fighters, backed by armoured personnel carriers, utility vehicles with attached machineguns, and one tank-like vehicle with track wheels and a large gun. Mr Shekau also taunts France, Israel and the US in the video.