LAGOS— In an apparent bid to reaffirm his relevance, Boko Haram’s former leader, Abubakar Shekau, has threatened fresh but more vicious attacks on Nigeria, saying this would culminate in an attack on President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The latest threat came barely a week after he was upstaged by ISIS, who appointed al-Barnawi, son of founder of the sect, Muhammed Yusuf, as the new leader of the sect.
In a new video released yesterday, Shekau, who paraded a large number of his men and munitions, was quiet, while one of his masked lieutenants read out a statement that reiterated their unflagging loyalty to him, denouncing ISIS’ choice of Mr. Al-Barnawi as its West African ‘Wali’ (leader).
But Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a swift reaction, waved off the threat last night, saying “not every tomfoolery deserves a response.”
Also Buratai, Army spokesman, Usman
The 24-minute video, which was partly in Arabic and ended largely in Hausa, had the group issuing direct threats to President Muhammadu Buhari; Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Butatai and spokesman of the Nigeria Army, Sani Usman, who they labelled as their avowed enemies and infidels.
The group expressed displeasure with the Albagdadhi-led ISIS for recognising Al-Barnawi as the new leader of Boko Haram in West Africa but failed to withdraw its loyalty to Mr. Albagdadhi whom they repeatedly referred to as Khalifa (Supreme leader) – an indication that Boko Haram is still very much comfortable being under the stronger umbrella of ISIS.
In the concluding part of the video message that featured the group speaking from a thick forest that conforms with the Nigerian vegetation during the rainy season, the masked speaker threatened more vicious war against Nigeria and its West and Central African neighbours, including Cameroon, Chad and Niger, very soon.
The veiled speaker in the front row of men that were all armed with lethal weapons, such as anti-aircraft rifles and rocket launchers, among others, threatened that they would soon attack the Presidential Villa and bring down the Nigerian flag.
The translated video message
The transcribed and translated video message read: “This is a message from the group of Jamaatu Ahlil sunna liddawati wal jihad in West Africa of the Islamic caliphate to all the Jihadists of the world; especially to Abubakar Albagdadi.
“News has recently come to us through the media outlets, including those of the infidels. The news was that someone has been made leader or vicegerent of our movement in West Africa. But we are telling you that the appointed person has no qualifications to become our leader. We have listened and heard from them and their comment and how they tried to defame Ahlil Sunna wal jamaaa and we are further convinced that such a person cannot become our leader. And we cannot follow the one that is not of Ahlil Sunna wal jamaaa.
“Besides, our leader, Abubakar Shekau, has sent you an eight-point message detailing why the person you appointed cannot lead because he is one of those that are called irjai. You (Albagdadhi) have sent a message back to our leader asking for the meaning of Irjai which he explained to you and you have failed to get back to us till date.
“Apart from that, in the message we sent to you, you’ve not been able to address all the questions asked and the issues raised till date. For that reason, we are telling you that we are together with our leader, Abubakar Shekau. There are other issues that we want to raise but not on this platform.
“We have not reneged on our professed loyalty in the leadership of Albagdadi. We are still with him. But we will not entertain any middle man to come between us and the Khalifa Albagdadhi until we meet face to face with the Khalifa or get a video or audio message from him, then we will reveal to him core secrets about those they are building their trust on.
“We are also warning you the infidels of the West African countries that in no distant time, you are going to be visited with a calamity from us that will marvel you all for a long time to come. We will shock the world very soon. Watch out for us.
“The Chief of Army Staff, General Buratai and the army spokesman, Kukasheka; we are going to show you our strength in Nigeria. The world should know that we are no longer out to fight Nigeria but our battle is of the entire world. And the battle has just begun. It is going to be a fresh battle for you soldiers of Nigeria. Die you all in your rage.
“To you, President Buhari, very soon you will see us inside your home, the presidential palace. You will hear from us right in there by the will of God. Abuja will hear from us very soon. We will demolish infidels and bring down the green white green and replace it with our flag.
“Under that flag, we shall worship Allah and we shall bring justice to all of you. Don’t think it is only this weapon that will aid us to destroy you but Allah will assist us to do this. Die you all in your rage. We are out to wage war on the world.”