Sect publishes video of Nigerian attack

2012-05-02 11:22

Lagos - A radical Islamist sect published a video on Tuesday showing a smiling suicide bomber drive into the offices of a major Nigerian newspaper and blow himself up, an attack that killed at least three people and made journalists a new target of the extremist group.

The 18-minute video posted on YouTube includes new threats against journalists and major Nigerian newspapers, as well as the Hausa language services of Voice of America and Radio France International. An unnamed male speaker also threatens new attacks against Nigeria's weak central government, saying security forces continue to hold the wives and children of its followers hostage.

"If they destroy one brick from our building, we will destroy 500 from theirs," the man says in Hausa.

The video shows the suicide bomber drive a sport utility vehicle on 26 April into the Abuja offices of ThisDay, an influential newspaper. As a man softly prays, the car blows up, sending a massive fireball into the air.

The attack killed at least three people at the offices in Nigeria's capital. A separate bombing at offices the newspaper shared with other publications in the city of Kaduna killed at least four people.

In the video, a narrator blames ThisDay for publishing inaccurate and biased information about the sect known as Boko Haram. In particular, the man mentions a 2002 article published by ThisDay suggesting the Prophet Muhammad would have married a Miss World pageant contestant. The video also shows the photograph of the reporter who wrote the article, which sparked riots in Kaduna that killed dozens.

"The punishment for that is the person should be killed, especially when you're talking about Prophet Muhammad," the man says.

The reporter who wrote the article later fled Nigeria for Europe.

New sophistication

The narrator also warns other Nigerian newspapers that they will be attacked for their reporting, as well as the local services of VOA and RFI. Officials with the VOA and RFI, which broadcast via shortwave radio across Nigeria's Muslim north, could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the Hausa language of Nigeria's north, is waging an increasingly bloody sectarian fight against Nigeria's weak central government. The sect is blamed for killing more than 450 people this year alone, according to an Associated Press count.

Diplomats and military officials say Boko Haram has links with two other al-Qaeda-aligned terrorist groups in Africa. Members of the sect also reportedly have been spotted in northern Mali which Tuareg rebels and hardline Islamists seized control of over the past month.

The video shows a new sophistication of the sect. Past videos have simply shown the sect's leader Sheik Abubakar Shekau talking. Tuesday's video included images from an attack for the first time, as well as using another speaker besides Shekau to spread the sect's message.

It also re-emphasizes the threat the sect poses to journalists in Nigeria, a country of more than 160 million people largely divided into a Christian south and a Muslim north. The sect previously killed two journalists.

"All these news agencies, God willing, we find their office, we're going to attack," the narrator says. "Anything that has to do with them, even their office, their workers."

  • ludlowdj - 2012-05-02 11:37

    Until the Islamic community is held accountable for the actions of its members nothing will change either. These people are actively hidden and abetted by the Islamic community and religious leaders in the areas they operate.

  • Omo - 2012-05-02 13:03

    @ludlowdj,While what you have said is true ,i must add that disgruntled members of Nigeria's ruling party (PDP)are the ones funding this group. If you had been following Nigeria’s politics for the past 5 years you will understand what i am saying. The president of Nigeria knows those who are behind Boko Haram but fails to act swiftly.What is also disturbing is that many of the BOKO Haram spokespersons speak with an a very distinct American accent. These guys are no rag tag militia but a group of well educated , well trained and well armed militia. Boko Haram is a political tool being used by Northern Nigerian politicians to unleash mayhem until their wish is granted. This group are a bunch of deadly mercenaries who use Islam as a cover up for their true agenda. The question we must ask is that why does a sect that says western education is a sin recruit well educated people and use sophisticated western methods to make bombs and plan their attacks. Something is definitely not right there. This guys are being trained and armed by some people so these are no ordinary terrorists. They make the Nigerian Government and security forces look like a bunch of amateurs. This Boko Haram group has it own commandos and sniper units that engage in full scale gun battles with members of the Nigerian armed forces in broad day light!

      John - 2012-05-02 14:17

      Certainly this 'sect' is the same as Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and their interaction and objectives not that much different. If I am not mistaken they do cooperate. So the fact that they are funded and trained is no surprise. Secondly, it is very disturbing that Islam affords this radical stance, and that Islam justifies these acts, and that the members of Islam is deathly silent on this issue. And I can not for one second believe that a group so familiar with the Qur'an is a group of mercenaries. They might have been millions of years ago, but by now they are Islam. And why not recruit an educated westerner, if it allows you the advantage. Surely they will deal with them later.

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