Abu Musab Abul-Barnawi, a new character that identifies himself as the spokesman of the extremist Boko Haram sect, has in a video clip said the reason Baga was seized by his group after repeated attacks was for strategic economic reasons.
Abul-Barnawi, who spoke in a very unusual video clip that featured him in a TV studio said to be owned by one Al-Urwa al-Wuthqa Foundation, which claimed to be the official communication channel for the sect, said his group has no intention of letting go the seized Nigerians territories that has now become part of their “Islamic Caliphate’.
The spokesman wore a black canvass mask over his face while he was being interviewed by a man whose face was equally hooded.
Abul-Barnawi said his group only attack those that stand against the cause of his group as well as those that promote or ‘worship’ democracy and westernisation.
He said very soon the seized communities would be opened and all those who approach them in repentance and ask for forgiveness would be allowed to live their normal lives without any interference.
The hooded interviewer asked the spokesman to explain why Baga is strategic to Boko Haram activities.
He responded, “First, this city is located in the northeast of Nigeria, in the vicinity of Lake Chad. It is important from both the trade and military aspects for the Nigerian government. As for its military importance to the Nigerian government, it has an alliance with the countries of Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. It is an alliance against our project to establish a State of Shariah, and it is an alliance to control Lake Chad, which is considered the most important economic resource in the region. As for us, its importance lies in removing this military gathering from the lands of the Islamic State, and thus, to establish the Shariah of Allah in this area, and provide security and safety for the Muslims in it.
“It is known that if these military gatherings enter an area they will corrupt it and oppression will prevail in it. By the grace of Allah alone, we were able to open this city and to include it with the cities of the Islamic State in Africa. The land is for Allah and he will bequeath it to whomever he wills from among his worshippers, and the good end is for the pious. Allah knows better,” the spokesman said.
Abul-Barnawi said the media distorted the name of his group.
He said “Praise be to Allah, the media is changing much of the facts and spreading lies, especially the media outlets that are controlled by the tyrants when the matter is related to the mujahedeen. It is the one that wages the distortion campaigns against the actions and words of the mujahedeen, and if there was no response to them, the truth would be confused with falsehood. Therefore, we say that we did not name ourselves “Boko Haram”.
“Our call is not limited to prohibiting foreign schools and democracy. We are Jama’at Ahl al-Sunnah Lil Dawa wal Jihad. Therefore, this name(Boko Haram) is an attempt to bury the truth. We carry out the support for the Sunnah and establish governance of Allah in the land.
“As for those accusing us of shedding Muslim blood, this is unreal and Allah bears witness to that. How can we fight them while we fight for their sake? When we entered the city there was the so-called carriers of the Catodqora stick, who cooperated with the soldiers of the tyrant and carried their weapons and stood by their side. So we fought who we fought. They know they fought us. When they saw our severity they escaped from the city and some of them rode into the sea and some of them went into the forest. However, we send this message to those who fought us or did not fight us: Whoever from among them comes to us in repentance, we accept their repentance and he shall have safety and security from us, because we are people”.
The interviewer then asked how the public with no access to the internet will know that if they asked for repentance from the group, they will be safe, Abul-Barnawi said “this could be achieved by many ways such as putting out leaflets and also posting them on the internet.
“If some of them come in repentance, we send him back to his brothers to inform them and to come in repentance. The best proof for that is the cities we have entered such as Mubi, Damaturu, and Fika. In these cities we did not cause harm to anyone, because they did not fight us. We fought those who fought us. If they stop their assault on us we will stop our assault on them. If you are not with us, do not be against us. We want to take the worshipers out of worshiping worshipers to worshiping the Lord of the worshipers, and from the oppression of religions to the justice of Islam, and from the narrowness of this world to the vastness of this world and the hereafter.
Again, when the interviewer asked if the group would stop attacking innocent civilians when raiding community the spokesperson said:
“Yes, this is for all the cities. For example, the people of Baga know they fought us and when we went to them they escaped and many from among the people of the cities did not fight us. Therefore, let them not escape from the city if we enter. For example, the people of Mubi and Damaturu welcomed our arrival and they invoked Allah in the streets. We see much of that. Therefore, we advised them to repent and to return safely to their homes and to stand with us to repel this crusader project which the crusader, deceitful Nigerian government imposed on the people, may Allah’s curse be upon it”.
Finally, he issued some warning to the allied forces of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and members of the Civilian JTF, to desist from attacking them or face more attacks.
“Stop your evil from us; otherwise, just as you raid our houses we will raid your houses. For example, Cameroon started to attack us so we attacked it. Therefore, we say to Niger and Chad that if they stop their assault on us and we will stop our assault on them; otherwise, just as you fight us we will fight you. We will inflame against you a war of which you have not before tasted its bitterness. Withdraw your soldiers before you regret what will come soon and you have no time to regret. As for whoever cooperates with them and stands with them, we say: come back to your senses and stand with your mujahideen brothers, who did not go out and leave their families and homes but to defend you and your religion.
“ And finally, we say to whoever speaks about us in the media outlets and claims they are mujahideen and they speak in their name: Stop the evil of your tongues and do not say anything that is unclear to you. If they want to speak, then let them hear from us and not hear about us.”