- (Photo: Reuters/Stringer)
A representative from Boko Haram has produced a new video denying responsibility for bombings that killed 185 civilians.
Abubakar Shekau, a leader within Islamist terror group Boko Haram has appeared in a video on YouTube brandishing an AK-47 and denying any responsibility for the deaths related to last week's bombings in Kano. Over 185 civilians were killed, but Shekau instead suggested that Nigerian security forces were to be held accountable. He also issued a chilling warning to secondary schools and universities, saying that they would be bombed unless security forces halted attacks on Islamic schools and madrassas.
On Christmas Day, multiple bombs targeted a series of Christian churches, as Boko Haram intestified its persecution of Christians in Nigeria, in the hope of eradicating the religion from the country, with the long-term goal to set up a strict Islamic state. In the aftermath, one man was arrested for being the suspected leader behind the attacks, but he has since escaped police custody, to the outrage of the local Christian communities.
Many Nigerians fear that Boko Haram has infiltrated the country's government, and recently Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan also admitted that he suspects sympathizers of Boko Haram are present within his administration.
Jonathan fired the chief of police on Tuesday in response to public outcry over the escaped bomber. However, the president is facing a difficult battle in bringing Boko Haram under control, and violence has continued and intensified further in the new year, claiming hundreds of lives already this year.
Nigeria is a nation made up with very balanced numbers of Christians and Muslims, with them being split into the Islamic-majority north, and the Christian-dominated south. Boko Haram previously warned all Christians to escape the north or face death. It hope to overthrow the current administration led by President Jonathan and to install Shariah law throughout the country.
Security forces have arrested more than 150 alleged members of the organization, but according to Jerry Dykstra, Media Relations Director of Open Doors USA, "Even when the security agents have information, some of them pass the information to these criminals. This is because some of the security agents are more loyal to their religion than to Nigeria as a nation."
Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden." Its extremist members pledge loyalty only to Allah, although a number of Islamic leaders have criticized the group's methods.