The Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a new video said his group was responsible for last week’s ambush of a military-escorted convoy of travellers along Maiduguri-Damboa road.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the ambush during which many civilians were abducted including 16 women. Though this newspaper was well informed by officials knowledgeable about the ambush that the women were police officers, PREMIUM TIMES did not reveal their identities in order not to jeopardise their safety and lives in the hands of their abductors, who may not have had the knowledge that they were serving police officers.
The police in Borno State had said at least two persons, including a police officer were killed while six others were injured.
The police, however, denied being aware of the abductions.
The Borno Police Public Relations Officer, Victor Isukwu, categorically stated that the command was not aware of such abduction. This denial was made even though relations and colleagues of the abducted persons lamented that the 16 policewomen were missing.
In a YouTube video released on Monday, the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, confirmed that his group did carry out the Damboa ambush.
Mr. Shekau who spoke in a very unusual calm mood appeared in a room sitting alone and having his AK47 rifle across his shoulder, with a huge chewing stick on his right hand.
He did not hold any piece of paper when he spoke but looked sickly and tired.
He said the ambush on the convoy along Maiduguri-Damboa road was a “victory” given to them by God and that the policewomen abducted were taken as slaves.
Mr. Shekau said the ease with which they conducted the ambush was an indication that he still commanded large following and his group has not been defeated.
He also issued an unusual threat to Muslim clerics whom he said are misleading the world on the true teaching of Islam. The video clip featured some of the Muslim clerics as they condemned the existence and activities of Boko Haram.
The 14 minutes video showed footages of how the attack was carried out, and how Boko Haram gunmen all in black attires continued to open fire on moving vehicles.
“The job that our men carried out along Damboa road was a victory from God. We are the ones that did it,” Mr. Shekau said in the video.
“The people of Nigeria and the so-called Islamic clerics who are betrayers, we are calling on you all to repent and return to God. Your leaders are feeding you with lies on what they have not done; but we are well and in good shape. If you could come and have a look at the life we are living here, most of you would rather wish to be with us to enjoy what we are enjoying. We are living fine because it is God we work for.
“So, this is to tell you that we did the Damboa road ambush; and the operation had put a lie to all claims of Nigeria soldiers, the police and other top government officials that they have finished Boko Haram. But the Damboa road ambush had made it clear that they have been telling lies to the world. A liar can never be victorious here and in hereafter.
“We have confiscated several cars, and we also have taken women, among them were top policewomen. God had given the senior policewomen to us as slaves and has put them in the custody we that are known as the Jamaatu Ahlil Sunna li Dawati wal Jihad, which you called with the derogatory name as Boko Haram.
“In a nutshell, we did the Damboa road operation and we are the ones that abducted the policewomen; But this is nothing compared to what the government and soldiers of Nigeria had done to our own women and wives, and even our children. Our friends have been in detention for years, many were killed. So, if we abduct few women, who are not more than ten or thereabout, it’s not a big deal.
“Secondly, my message is to Islamic clerics in Nigeria who despite their position are giving wrong interpretation to the Holy Quran; you are playing with hell fire. You have to be careful because Quran has divided mankind into three; some are believers, some are Hypocrites and some are non-believers. There is no way we Muslims in mosques and Christians in churches and you think we can work together.
“This has never happened before even during the life time of all apostles of the prophet.
“If you are insisting on dialogue we have to have a situation where Muslims are ruling with Sharia, and the non-Muslims agree to remain by the side without interference, then we can discuss on their rights; such non-Muslims are the ones that could be labelled as the trusted.
“But where the country is being run by constitution and democracy, such kind of dialogue cannot be possible. And you the Islamic clerics are all out there preaching in the mosques and spoiling the image of Islam. If you don’t repent you shall not end well.
“That is my message, that we are the ones that took these women. And that I am Abubakar Shekau the leader of the group. We call on Nigerians to repent and to come and work for Islam, in accordance with the caliphate that was established by Uthman Dan Fodio, which was a caliphate built upon truth and believe in God.”
The police and the military have not reacted to the video as at the time of this report.