•Confirms group attacked Maiduguri, Gamboru, Damboa
Stories by Job Osazuwa
Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, has released a video message wherein he claimed that the series of attacks in the North East, during the festive season, were carried out by his members.
Shekau released his first video message in months amid surge in violence casting doubt on the Federal Government’s claim that group has been defeated.
“We are in good health and nothing has happened to us. Nigerian troops, Police and those creating mischief against us can’t do anything against us and you will gain nothing. We carried out the attacks in Maiduguri, in Gamboru, in Damboa. We carried out all these attacks,” said Shekau in the 31-minute video message spoken in Hausa.
The video then showed footage from a Christmas Day attack on a military checkpoint in Molai village, on the outskirts of Maiduguri, Borno State, which the military said was thwarted by troops after one hour of battle. Boko Haram fighters in torn clothes were shown shooting from the back of battered pick-up trucks.
Shekau’s message came during an acceleration of Boko Haram attacks and just days after the terrorists killed 25 people outside Maiduguri, birthplace of the Islamist insurgency.
The video was released less than 24 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari declared that “Boko Haram remains beaten.”
The president, in his new year address reiterated that “isolated attacks still occur but, even the best-policed countries cannot prevent determined criminals from committing terrible acts of terror,” the president said on Monday.
At least, 50 people were killed in November when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque in Adamawa State.
On many occasions, Shekau claimed victory for his group. The Nigerian Army had, on several occasions, claimed that it had killed Shekau, but each time it pronounces him dead, the militant resurfaces in audio or video messages to not only debunk such claims but taunt the military.
Shekau took over Boko Haram in 2009, after the death of its founder, Muhammad Yusuf.
Boko Haram, whose Islamist insurgency has left at least 20,000 dead in Nigeria, since it began in 2009, has long been fractionalised.
In 2016, it suffered a major split, when the group recognised Yusuf’s son, Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi, as leader.