LAGOS (AA) – The Boko Haram militant group has declared the towns it had recently captured in northern Nigeria as part of an Islamic caliphate.
“We are grateful to Allah for the big victory he granted our members in Gwoza and made the town a part of the Islamic caliphate,” Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a new video obtained by the local online news medium Sahara Reporters.
It quoted the top militant as claiming victory for attacks on Abuja and the Yobe State town of Damaturu.
This is the first video the militant group has release after the Ramadan-era suicide blasts in Damaturu in which over 17 people died and the last attack on capital Abuja in June.
Shekau, according to the online medium, also claimed recent attacks on Damboa, another major town the group had captured in recent weeks before being recaptured by Nigerian army troops.
“We are in an Islamic caliphate. We have nothing to do with Nigeria. We don’t believe in this name,” Shekau boasted.
Shekau’s messages and focus, the latest video shows, have remained consistently inconsistent and largely unoriginal, according to Anadolu Agency correspondent.
It is the first time since he launched the violent campaign in 2009 he is using the term Islamic caliphate.
Shekau did not say whether his caliphate is part of the one recently declared by the Islamic State in parts of Iraq and Syria.
The military, meanwhile, rejected Shekau’s claim of taking over Gwoza, saying no part of the country shall be ceded to terrorists.
“The claim is empty,” defense spokesman Chris Olukolade tweeted tonight.
“The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nigerian state is still intact,” he insisted.
“Any group of terrorists laying claim to any portion of the country will not be allowed to get away with the expression of delusion and crime,” said the army spokesman.
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