Nigeria sect leader defends killings

2012-01-12 07:54

Abuja - The leader of Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram said recent killings of Christians were justifiable revenge attacks and President Goodluck Jonathan had no power to stop the group's insurgency, in the first video of him posted online.

The 15 minute video of Abubakar Shekau posted on YouTube is similar in style to messages submitted by other Islamist groups like al-Qaeda, a sign of the growing influence other jihadist movements are having on the sect.

Boko Haram, whose name translates from the northern Hausa language as "Western education is sinful", has been behind almost daily killings in its home base in the largely Muslim northeast, most recently targeting Christians.

"Christians, everyone knows what they have done to us and Muslims ... we were attacked and we decided to defend ourselves and, because we were on the right path, Allah has made us stronger," Shekau says in Hausa, sat in front of two Kalashnikov rifles and wearing a camouflage bullet proof jacket.

"Jonathan, [you] know full well that this thing is beyond your powers," he added, referring to the president.

Shekau is understood to have taken over control of Boko Haram, which wants sharia law more widely applied across Africa's most populous nation, after the sect's founder Mohammed Yusuf was killed in police custody in 2009 following an uprising in which 700 people were killed.

"Everyone knows how our leader was murdered and everyone knows the way the Muslims were killed," Shekau says, remaining stony faced and calm throughout.

"Catastrophe is caused by unbelief, unrest is unbelief, injustice is unbelief, democracy is unbelief and the constitution is unbelief."


Boko Haram's attacks began small scale - usually drive-by shootings on authority figures or drinking joints in their home town of Maiduguri, in the country's remote northeast corner - but lately have become increasingly sophisticated and ambitious.

In August last year, the sect carried out a suicide car bombing of the United Nations headquarters in the capital Abuja that killed 24 people. On Christmas Day it masterminded coordinated explosions against Christians, including one at a church near Abuja that killed at least 37 people.

The most recent attacks have targeted Christians but dozens of Muslims were killed by the sect last year.

"Anyone who attacks us, we will attack him back even if he is a Muslim. We shall kill anyone who works against Islam, even if he is a Muslim," Shekau said in the online tape.

Gunmen shot dead four people at a petrol station on Wednesday in the northeast Nigerian town of Potiskum, where on Tuesday suspected members of Boko Haram shot dead eight people.

Boko Haram's increasingly violent insurgency has become a major security problem for Jonathan's administration, also facing pressure from nationwide strikes and protests against fuel price increases.

"Four people were shot dead this afternoon but I cannot confirm whether the attackers were Boko Haram," said Tanko Lawal, police commander in Yobe state.

Yobe's government said on Wednesday it has banned the use of motorbikes, which have often been used in Boko Haram attacks, in volatile areas of the state.

  • Angus - 2012-01-12 08:27

    And we wonder why nobody respects God or the church at large when stupid followers tarnish the name of God by following their own agendas. IF you want to be a murderer, then do it under your own name! God would not be God if he needed pathetic human's to defend him.

      Martin - 2012-01-12 10:04

      People killed by atheist rulers between 1917 and 2007: 148 million

      John - 2012-01-12 11:40

      @Angus. Christianity does not sanction one to kill another, and if this article was about Christianity your statement would have more-or-less rung true. The article is about Islam, and it (the Qur'an) commands the death of unbelievers, or subjugation for Jews & Christians. In 'Christianity' atrocities are committed by those who are only 'Christian' in name. In Islam, the book/religeon is at fault for it commands death to unbelievers. Boko Haram is not a sect. It is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, it follows in the footsteps of Alquida, and it strives to enforce Sharia. All synonomous with Islam. Look at all the nations where Islam is the majority religeon. Enough said.

      Martino - 2012-01-12 16:33

      Atheitis, Well, Stalin is a good example.

  • keketso.polisa1 - 2012-01-12 08:47

    "Catastrophe is caused by unbelief, unrest is unbelief, injustice is unbelief, democracy is unbelief and the constitution is unbelief." I question the sanity of anyone who believes or follws this man. what is he smoking?

  • MissGremlin - 2012-01-12 09:19

    Flatten this Mo Fo. Fast.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-12 10:11

    Any force that kills civilians in its fight against the government is little more than a terrorist group, which must be condemned and wiped off the face of the earth. BOKO HARAM has proven itself to be such a group, which by its actions must be hunted down and destroyed to the last man. it has no legitimate standing and the normal rules of engagement no longer apply. It is always amazing how these people attempt to use innocents to create a fear within the population while they themselves strut with pride, but once cornered they turn into weeping woman begging for mercy and their lives. A mercy I hope Nigeria never extends. Jonathan would do well to follow Israels lead and summarily execute any members of this organisation they capture alive. If Israel is not constrained by modern law why should anyone else be.

      PeggySven - 2012-01-12 15:09

      @ludlowdj, funny you should say that, how about the anc's attacks on civilians? The people that blew up woman and children are now feted as heroes. It would seem that the anc was allowed to kill innocents, but when the government of the day executed the perpetrators, after a fair trial, it was condemned by the world, while the anc's murder of innocents was called "Freedom Fighting". Funny that, NOT.

  • phillip.havenga - 2012-01-12 10:17

    Atheitis firstly please try to refrain from trying to turn every article into a sounding board for your little soap box opera of hatred and fanatacism. This in my opinion is merely a clearly homicidal maniac using religion as a scapegoat for his murderous actions. This is not religion this is a man, a very disgusting and pathetic one but a man none the less.

  • Graziella - 2012-01-12 13:54

    Nigeria needs to be devided into two states, the Muslim North and the Christian South.

  • pages:
  • 1