Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Boko Haram release video celebrating bombing of media houses and warning of more attacks

Islamist group Boko Haram released a video late on Tuesday celebrating its bombing of a Nigerian newspaper and warning of more attacks on local and foreign media if they published reports that were biased to the sect or insulting to Islam.


Suicide car bombers targeted the offices of This Day in the capital, Abuja, and northern city of Kaduna last Thursday, killing at least five people in apparently coordinated strikes.

Boko Haram has been fighting a low-level insurgency for more than two years and has become the main security threat facing Africa's top oil producer, although most attacks have been in the largely Muslim north, far from southern oil fields.

The sect, which wants to impose an Islamic state on Nigeria's more or less evenly mixed population of Muslim and Christians, has been blamed for hundreds of killings since its uprising against the government in 2009.

It had not previously targeted the press in its bombing campaign, although last October it killed a reporter for state TV who the sect said was an informant to President Goodluck Jonathan's administration.

The video posted on the Internet opens with a Koranic song and a drawing of the Koran sitting on two crossed AK-47s. A banner in the northern Hausa language says:

"Message from Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihadl (Boko Haram's full name): on why we attacked ThisDay".

It then plays a video tape shot from a distance of the ThisDay Abuja office, which promptly explodes into a ball of flames and grey smoke - that suggests the sect had a cameraman set up in anticipation of the strike.

"We attacked Thisday because we will never forget or forgive anyone who abused our Prophet," a voice booms in Hausa.

ThisDay angered Muslims a decade ago when one of its columnists suggested the Prophet Mohammad might have wanted to marry a beauty queen, an event to which the tape alludes.


The statement rages against local and international media for carrying reports by Nigeria's government that a faction of the sect was behind the kidnapping of two hostages - one British, the other Italian - who were killed by their captors during a botched March rescue attempt.

"We said we have nothing to do with it, yet these media houses reported that we were responsible for the incident," it said, also complaining about reports, which it denied, that its spokesman Abu Qaqa had been captured.

It warned it would attack other media houses soon, listing several local papers as next on the list and several international media as "on the verge of jointing them".

It was at least the fifth video that Boko Haram had posted this year, mostly from self-proclaimed leader Abubakar Shekau. Shekau appears in this one, too, waving an AK-47 around.

From being a secretive sect in the shadows, the group has gradually raised its media profile, which may explain both the proliferation of home videos and growing attacks on media.

A spate of attacks in the past few days, including one against Christians in the north that killed 19 people on Sunday, dampened hopes that tighter security in the north had drastically reduced the sect's capability.

Nigerian forces raided the hideout of Islamist militants in Kano on Tuesday, killing the suspected mastermind of an attack on Christian worshippers in a gun battle that lasted several hours in the main northern city.

Here is a transcription of the Boko Haram video above:

"This is a message from the public awareness department of the Jamatu Ahlis sunnah lil daawati wal jihad, a group engaged in jihad in Nigeria.

"We wish to explain about the attack we carried out on Thisday Newspapers. Some of the reasons why we decided to attack some Media Houses, especially Thisday, is because the paper was used in dishonouring our prophet, Mohammad (SAW) during a beauty pageant in Kaduna in November 2002.

"At that time, some people who called themselves leaders of Muslims came out to say they have forgiven those who committed the offence.

"But based on our knowledge, we know that no one has the power to forgive anyone for an offence that God himself has given judgement, especially on an offence that has to do with dishonouring Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

"No one has the power to forgive this type of offence, and the judgement is for such persons to be killed.

"This lady that committed this crime, the judgement on her is to be killed at any opportunity; and the media house is also supposed to be driven out of existence whenever there is a chance to do so.

"We are just getting the opportunity to attack the media house, and we are hoping to continue these attacks until we drive them out of existence.

"It is our hope that Allah (SWT) will help his religion.

"We know that any genuine Muslim must have been deeply touched by the Thisday incident.

"Thisday newspaper is also leading in helping the government in fighting us, alongside other media houses that we will mention soon.

"Some of the offences of Thisday and other media outlets include: firstly, during the botched attempt to rescue some kidnapped foreign nationals in Sokoto; these media houses asked us if we have anything to do with the kidnap and we said we have nothing to do with it, yet these media houses reported that we were responsible for the incident, that was a lie against us.

"Secondly, when we sent a video of our leader, Abubakar Shekau, the media houses reported things that our leader did not say, such as that in response to the president’s threat to finish us in three months, we have also threatened to finish the government in three months. But the truth is, nowhere in the video did our leader said what they attributed to him.

"Thirdly, on the purported arrest of Abu Qaqa by the SSS, we have come out to tell them that the person arrested was not Abu Qaqa,yet the media continue to potray us as liars, and even said that our leader had ordered for Abu Qaqa II to be executed, and we are now searching for Abu Qaqa III.

"Recently too, they came out with another lie that one Mohammed Awwal Kontagora was the Abu Qaqa II that was executed, and that even his parents confirmed it, that was just a big lie to convince the world.

"The media also said that we have killed the father of Abu Darda, so as to pass a message to him, because he had leaked our secrets after his arrest by security agencies, and they  wanted him to know that he is one of our targets.

"These are all lies, and they are many.

"These media houses have committed a lot of offences that is detrimental to Islam, and we don’t have the power to forgive them. We will take revenge on them by God’s grace, some of these media houses have been categorized into three groups.

"The first group is the likes of Thisday whose offences are big.

"The second group we will also attack soon are Punch, Daily Sun, Vanguard, Guardian, Nation, Tribune, and National Accord, which are all newspaper houses.

"There is also VOA Hausa radio. All these media houses we will attack them including their staff and offices, by God’s grace.

"VOA Hausa for instance have recently started campaigning for people to support the government against us by exposing us,

"The next group that are on the verge of joining this list who if they are not careful we will attack very soon include, Leadership, Daily Trust, Peoples Daily and RFI(Radio France international)

"There is an online medium known as Saharareporters who have their office in New York, and who have made their site as a platform for attack against Islam. So we are warning them to stop making their site an avenue for attacking Islam, otherwise we will find a way of attacking them too.

"We resorted to using this medium to send our message instead of the normal tele-conference because of the fear by journalists; which made them refuse to conduct the conference.

"We are grateful to God for the success recorded on the attack on Thisday, and we hope to continue such attacks.

"Finally, the government has now resorted to arresting our wives and children and also demolishing our houses, like they did in Biu recently, that is why we have also resolved to start attacking government schools, especially, tertiary ones.

"We promise to demolish 500 buildings for any one of our houses that the government destroys.

"We have already started with Gombe and Kano."


Related stories: Video - Boko Haram threatens President Goodluck Jonathan on youtube 

11 killed as suicide bomber hits police convoy in Taraba

 Boko Haram attack church at Kano University - 20 confirmed dead

Boko Haram claim responsibility for This Day offices bombing

Video - Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram? 

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