Shekau, Boko Haram Leader Resurfaces In New Video, Claims Yuletide Attacks

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video message on Tuesday claiming a series of attacks in northeast Nigeria during the festive season.

The shadowy leader released his first video message in months amid a surge in violence casting doubt on the Nigerian government’s claim that the terrorist group is defeated.

“We are in good health and nothing has happened to us,” said Shekau in the 31-minute video message spoken in the Hausa language common across northern Nigeria.

“Nigerian troops, police and those creating mischief against us can’t do anything against us, and you will gain nothing,” he said.

“We carried out the attacks in Maiduguri, in Gamboru, in Damboa. We carried out all these attacks.”

The video then shows footage from a Christmas Day attack on a military checkpoint in Molai village on the outskirts of the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, which the military said was thwarted by troops after one hour of battle.

Boko Haram fighters in torn clothes were shown shooting from the back of battered pickup trucks.

Shekau’s message comes during an acceleration of Boko Haram attacks and just days after the jihadists killed 25 people outside Maiduguri, the birthplace of the insurgency.

In December, Boko Haram attacked convoys of Nigerian soldiers and dispatched suicide bombers into crowded markets in towns across northeast Nigeria.

At least 50 people were killed in November when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque in Adamawa state.

But Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said in his New Year address that Boko Haram has been “beaten”.
“Isolated attacks still occur, but even the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined criminals from committing terrible acts of terror,” said Buhari.

Shekau, a leader known for his lengthy, wild-eyed video messages, took over Boko Haram in 2009 after the death of its founder Muhammad Yusuf.

Boko Haram, whose insurgency has left at least 20,000 dead in Nigeria since it began in 2009, has long been fractionalised.

In 2016 it suffered a major split, when the so-called Islamic State group recognised Yusuf’s son, Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi, as leader.

AFP

Video: We’ve Not Been Flushed Out Of Anywhere – Abubakar Shekau

Leader of the deadly Boko Haram terrorist group, Abubakar Shekau, has said that the insurgents are safe and have “not been flushed out of anywhere”.

On Saturday, President Muhammadu Buhari had announced that Boko Haram had been crushed and their camp in Sambisa was destroyed.

“I was told by the Chief of Army Staff that the Camp fell at about 1:35pm on Friday, December 22, and that the terrorists are on the run, and no longer have a place to hide,” the president had said.

But according to PUNCH, Shekau appeared in a new 25-minute video on Thursday, in which he said that Buhari was “telling lies to the people.”

“We are safe. We have not been flushed out of anywhere. And tactics and strategies cannot reveal our location except if Allah wills by his decree,” Shekau said.

“You should not be telling lies to the people. If you indeed crushed us, how can you see me like this? How many times have you killed us in your bogus death?

“Our aim is to establish an Islamic Caliphate and we have our own Caliphate, we are not part of Nigeria.”

Shekau Is “Mad”, Buratai Declares

Tukur Buratai, a lieutenant-colonel and chief of army staff, says Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram leader, is “on his way to his waaterloo”.

Speaking on Monday when he paid a courtesy call on Jubrilla Bindow, governor of Adamawa state, Buratai said that the fight against insurgency had reached an advanced stage.

Asked to react to the video posted by Shekau on Sunday where he claimed to be alive and in good health, Buratai said: “He, Shekau, is a mad man.

“We don’t have anything to tell him; he is on his way to his waterloo.’’

Buratai said the army had stabilised the security situation in the north-east.

He called on the federal government and government of the affected states to give priority attention to issues of peace building, reconstruction and humanitarian needs.

“There is need to ameliorate the challenges of the IDPs,” he said.

“The major challenge now is humanitarian; we call on the government to provide the needed facilities to enable the IDPs return to their communities.”

While speaking, Bindow praised the army for degrading the insurgents and promised to continue supporting military operations.

On Sunday, the army had said Shekau’s latest video was proof of its suspicion that the insurgent was “mentally sick and unstable”.

“The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a video clip released by the so-called Abubakar Shekau faction of the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists group this morning,” Sani Usman, spokesman of the army, said.

“In it, the purported leader of the group in his usual insane manner made all sorts of assertions to the point of threatening various towns, groups and individuals. He also tried, albeit failingly, to deny the air raid by the Nigerian Air Force in which he was wounded.

“The video has shown beyond all reasonable doubt the earlier suspicion that the purported factional terrorists group leader is mentally sick and unstable. The ranting is also another sign that the end is near for him which is part of the signs of all wicked people.”

FG,DHQ Dismiss Appointment Of New Boko Haram Leader, As Sect Splits Over Choice Of Leader

The Federal Government yesterday dismissed as inconsequential the appointment of a new leader for Boko Haram by the Islamic State (IS).
The Defence Headquarters also spoke in the same vein.
Besides, Wednesday’s appointment of Abu Musab al-Barnawi has split the organisation, which appears to be struggling to return to relevance as Abubakar Shekau said he remains the group’s leader.
Minister of Information Lai Mohammed said nothing would bring back Boko Haram as its defeat is complete. He described the claim by the sect as “another cheap propaganda.”
Mohammed added that “it is too late to employ such tactics to revive the group
“By the way, don’t believe the cheap propaganda by the global terrorist group ISIS, which has reportedly named a new leader for Boko Haram. Our gallant military has put Boko Haram on the run and nothing will bring back the terrorists, not even the wishful thinking by ISIS,” the minister said.
The Director of Defence Information, (DHQ), Brig.-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said in Abuja that the military remained focused on its operation in the Northeast.
He said the announcement of a new leader for the group was only aimed at seeking attention and relevance.
“As far as we are concerned, what Boko Haram or their cohorts are doing is of no relevance to our operations against them.
“We are just focused on clearing the remnants of the insurgents that are scattered around.
“What they are doing is to seek relevance and to tell the world that they are still around whereas they have been decimated.
“Their latest move is the antics of a fading group and I believe that in the shortest time they will be history.’’
Shekau yesterday insisted he was “still around”.
He described his rival to power, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, as a “polytheist”, meaning one who worships many gods.
Shekau, who wears military uniform and waves an AK-47 assault rifle in propaganda videos posted online, said he sent letters to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), but its leaders had stopped replying.
“I was asked to send my ideology in writing to the caliph but it was manipulated by some people in order to achieve their own selfish interests,” he said in a 10-minute audio message.
“People should know we are still around.
“We will never cause any discord among the people, we will live by the Koran.”
Al-Barnawi’s appointment as the new “Wali of West Africa” was announced through an interview with him in the latest edition of Isil’s online weekly magazine al-Naba.
Boko Haram’s former spokesman, he is seen by the terrorist group as more moderate.
Despite the group’s substantial territorial losses at the hands of a multinational force comprising Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad, al-Barnawi said that Boko Haram was “still a force to be reckoned with” and vowed to end its practice of attacking mosques and killing Muslims.
Instead, he said, it would focus on attacking Christians, by “booby-trapping and blowing up every church that we are able to reach, and killing all of those who we find from the citizens of the cross”.
Analysts said the rift opened up a new and dangerous chapter of Nigerian-born terrorism as both factions could now compete to outdo each other.
Shekau’s faction may also team up with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, al-Qaeda’s official branch in North Africa which was behind hotel terror attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso.
Ryan Cummings, director of Signal Risk consultancy, said Shekhau had fallen foul of Isil leaders after attacks on cities like Baga, a north eastern town whose residents were all but wiped out in January 2015.
“Boko Haram’s wanton violence has always been a concern for Isil,” he said. “They are no angels but justify the deaths of civilians by applying the apostate label.
“To re-establish the group’s credentials and recruiting abilities in the Lake Chad region, Isil obviously realised a change in strategy and leadership was needed.”

Security Agents Arrest Boko Haram’s Second-In-Command

The security operatives on Friday made a major breakthrough in the intensified campaign against the Boko Haram insurgency by arresting the leader of the Ansaru Islamic Sect, Khalid Albarnawi.

The Acting Director Defence information, Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, confirmed the arrest of the top wanted terror suspect to one of our correspondents on the telephone on Saturday.

Abubakar said that Albanarwi was second in command to Abubakar Shekau in the hierarchy of the dreaded Boko Haram Sect.

He attributed the arrest of Albarnawi to effective collaborative efforts among the various security agencies in the country.

The Acting Defence Spokesman said that with the arrest of the top leader of Ansaru, regarded as Shekau’s second in command, the days of the Boko Haram Sect were numbered.

According to him, the arrested terror suspect was cooperating with security operatives in the area of volunteering information.

However, Abubakar was not specific about which of the security agencies were in custody of the top terror suspect.

He called on Nigerians to cooperate with the security agencies in the ongoing onslaught on the Boko Haram by volunteering necessary information and intelligence to them.

He said, “I can confirm that he (Albarnawi) is in custody. It is a product of the existing synergy among the security agencies which led to this breakthrough in the war on terror.

“Nigerians should assist the security agencies with relevant information and intelligence, I can say that the days of Boko Haram are numbered.

“We have just confirmed that he has been nabbed and he is with the relevant agencies and as time goes, people would know how this kind of person was nabbed and it is due to the synergy existing among the security agencies.

“He has been arrested and he is with the relevant agencies and he is cooperating with giving information.

“He is the second-in-command as far as the Boko Haram hierarchy is concerned. So their days are numbered by the grace of God.”

The Ansaru leader, Albarnawi, who reportedly trained in the North African country of Algeria is believed to be highly influential in the nation’s terror network.

Ansaru which was formed as a splinter group of the Boko Haram in January 26, 2012 and it claimed responsibility for the November 2012 attack on the Special Anti Robbery Squad Headquarters, Abuja.

Several top commanders of the Boko Haram were released in the attack which was praised in a YouTube video by Shakau’s in a message to the ‘Soldiers of God in the Islamic State of Mali.’

Also, in the early hours of January 19, 2013, Ansaru attacked a convoy of Mali-bound Nigerian soldiers numbering 180 from the Second Mechanised Division, Ibadan, Oyo state, killing three soldiers among others.

On June 21, 2013, the United States Department of State had declared the leader of the Boko Haram Sect, Abubakar Shekau, and two of his lieutenants Abubakar Adam Kambar and Khalid al-Barnawi as ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorists’ under Section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224.

The State Department had said then that ‘Shekau is the most visible leader of Boko Haram based in northern Nigeria, Khalid al-Barnawi and Abubakar Adam Kambar, have ties to Boko Haram abs have close links to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.’

The Punch

“I Have Done My Part”, Boko Haram’s Shekau Says In New Video

Leader of terrorist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau has appeared apparently to tell his followers he’s still alive.

Shekau who has not appeared in any video for more than a year was seen in the seven-minute video released today, in a military uniform with a rifle resting on his left shoulder.

Looking subdued, Shekau said he wanted to thank his followers for their dedication.

“I have done my part. This message is just to reassure you that I’m alive and actually the one speaking to you,” he said in both Hausa and Arabic.

There was really no clear message from the dreaded leader.  The poorly produced video has none of the bravado that we have seen in previous films of Abubakar Shekau.

There was also none of Mr Shekau’s defiant bluster, taunts and denunciation of Nigeria’s political elites of previous videos. This the BBC said could be seen as signalling the end of his reign as the leader of the jihadist group.

His admission that “I have done my part or the end has come for me” could be seen as a giving up to the mounting pressure on the Islamists by regional forces.

Terrorists Are Free To Surrender – Nigerian Military

Meanwhile,  Nigeria’s military has responded to the latest video showing the leader of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram by saying that it will be forensically examined to “ascertain its authenticity”.

The military said in a statement that its campaign against Boko Haram fighters continues.

“We wont take any action that can stop the ongoing offensives against the terrorists in all fronts. Every terrorist is free to surrender,” the statement added.