Boko Haram leader Shekau releases new video, vows to keep fighting against Nigeria, western education
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video Tuesday pledging to continue attacks days after Nigeria’s military repeated that the jihadist group had been defeated. This screen grab image taken on January 2, 2018 from a video released on January 2, 2018 by Islamist group Boko Haram shows Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau speaking in his first video message in months amid a surge in violence casting doubt on the Nigerian government’s claim that the jihadist group is defeated. 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 Islamist insurgency.
The factional leader said in a video message that a recent offensive to clear out Boko Haram’s stronghold of Sambisa forest in Borno State had failed and vowed to keep fighting against Nigeria and western education. “The person that believes in nationalism is the one we are at war with, the person who believes in disseminating western education, which is replete with unbelief, is the one we fight”, Shekau said in the 11-minute video. Nigeria has repeatedly claimed it has beaten Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said the jihadists were “technically defeated” in December 2015. Boko Haram’s capacity has been weakened since 2014 when it controlled swathes of territory in northeast Nigeria but it still poses a threat. Last Sunday, Boko Haram fighters stormed a village in northeast Nigeria, killing two people, while six people were killed in an attack in northern Cameroon. At least 20,000 people have been killed in nearly nine years of violence and more than 2.6 million made homeless, triggering a humanitarian crisis across the Lake Chad region.