Nigerian Islamist leader threatens US

2010-07-14 10:48

Lagos - A Nigerian Islamist leader believed killed in an uprising nearly a year ago has threatened the United States and paid tribute to Al-Qaeda in Iraq in a new message, a monitoring group said on Wednesday.

The message attributed to the Islamist sect leader was posted on a website on Sunday - the same day attacks in Uganda targeting World Cup fans killed dozens, though there was no apparent link between the two.

In the message posted on the Ansar al-Mujahideen jihadist forum, Abubakar Shekau, formerly second in command of the sect, mourns slain top Islamic State of Iraq officials, SITE said.

"I send this message of condolence on behalf of my mujahideen brothers in some African territories called Nigeria to the mujahideen general and to the soldiers of Allah in the Islamic State of Iraq in particular," he said in the message.

Shekau, believed to have been killed during last year's rebellion in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, warned the United States.

"Infidels, hypocrites and apostates: Do not think jihad is over. Rather jihad has just begun, ...America, die with your fury," he said.

Shekau's message comes just weeks before the first anniversary of the uprising his group, Boko Haram, launched in a bid to establish an Islamist state.

A picture of Shekau, brandishing a rifle, appeared with the message.

Authorities had thought Shekau was dead, but videos clips of him threatening to avenge the deaths of hundreds of militants killed in the July 2009 clashes with security forces emerged in northern Nigeria in April.

At least 700 people, most of them sect members, were killed during the insurrection that was put down by Nigerian security forces in less than a week of fierce street battles.

Shekau's message was for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Abu Hamza al-Muhajir. It was addressed to "leaders of al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups in Algeria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen", said SITE.