Boko Haram declares ‘Caliphate Republic’
DHQ: Shekau’s claim empty
Troops to launch aerial battle
Just a few days after it captured a police training facility, the insurgent Boko Haram sect has declared an “Islamic Caliphate”.
The head of the armed group, Abubakar Shekau, proclaimed an “Islamic caliphate” in Gwoza, Borno State in a video obtained by French news agency AFP yesterday.
Gwoza is a big town, which is about one hour thirty minutes by bus to the capital city, Maiduguri.
“Thanks to Allah who gave victory to our brothers in Gwoza”, which is now “part of the Islamic Caliphate”, said Shekau in a video of 52 minutes.
The video purportedly recorded in Gwoza, shows a footage of prisoners being shot while on the floor, lay in a ditch before assault rifles were aimed at their heads.
Besides, fighters were shown storming the town in tanks, firing sporadically.
Shekau also lauds the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who in late June declared himself “the caliph” and “leader of Muslims everywhere.”
“We will not leave the city. We came to stay,” said Shekau. The leader of Boko Haram has been labelled a “global terrorist” by the United States and a $7 million price was put on his head.
He declared that Gwoza now has “nothing to do with Nigeria”.
“By the grace of Allah, we will not leave the town. We have come to stay,” said Shekau, who has been sanctioned by the UN Security Council.
The United Nations humanitarian office (OCHA) earlier this month confirmed reports that Gwoza was under rebel control.
Boko Haram has become the second Islamic group to declare a republic after the ISIS, which controls vast swathes of eastern Syrian and northern Iraq. In June, it declared that territory a caliphate, an Islamic State.
Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is referred to as Caliph Ibrahim. He declared himself “leader of Muslims everywhere”.
The Caliphate, where Shia Muslims, Christians and minority sects have been persecuted, massacred or forced to flee, has no international recognition.
Shekau hails al-Baghdadi.
Boko Haram is also believed to be in control of other areas near Gwoza in southern Borno, as well as large swathes of territory in northern Borno and, to a large extent, Buni Yadi in neighbouring Yobe State.
These two states and Adamawa State have been under the state of emergency since May last year.
There are few humanitarian workers on the ground in the northeast, travel is dangerous and the region, which has been under a state of emergency since May, last year, has poor mobile phone coverage.
Experts have described Boko Haram’s gains in recent weeks as unprecedented.
Soldiers who refused to deploy to Gwoza allegedly without better weapons are to be court marshalled.
During Boko Haram’s attack on Gwoza, the Police Training Institute near the town was taken over and the police authorities said at the weekend that 35 policemen were missing after the attack and takeover of the Institute.
They have launched a manhunt for the 35 missing policemen after two attacks on police training camps, police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu said.
The statement on the police website says the attack followed another one on August 7 that was repelled by the police.
The Defence Headquarters described Shekau’s declaration of an “Islamic Caliphate in Gwoza” as an empty boast.
The Air Force is likely to be drafted into the battle to regain Gwoza, with Boko Haram blocking all the roads to the town.
It was also learnt that top Boko Haram leaders have occupied the palace of the Emir of Gwoza where they installed an Amir(Spiritual Leader) at the weekend.
Top military chiefs are said to have met on how to drive Boko Haram out of Gwoza.
It was learnt that intelligence reports confirmed that most of the leaders of the sect are now living in the palace of the Emir of Gwoza and calling the shots from there.
The intelligence gathering indicated a total blockade of all access roads to Gwoza to prevent troops, police and other security agents from launching reprisals.
A source said: “The military is aware of the so-called declaration by Shekau. The truth the Boko Haram will not tell you is that Sambisa Forest has become marshy and the insurgents cannot operate from there anymore.
“They are also running out of foodstuff, hence they have become desperate to attack innocent villagers or scare them to have access to their barns.”
Another source said: “The military will take the battle to the air with Boko Haram. There will be aerial bombardments of their so-called strongholds.”
The Director of Defence Information, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, said: “The claim is empty. The territorial integrity of the Nigerian state is still intact.
“Any group of terrorists laying claim to any portion of the country will not be allowed to get away with that expression of delusion and crime.
“Appropriate military operations to secure that area from the activities of the bandits are ongoing.”
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