A man claiming to be the leader of Boko Haram reappeared in a video taunting the Nigerian government again for repeating the allegation that it has decimated the jihadist group this week.
Soon after Nigeria falsely claimed to have defeated the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL)-linked terrorist organization, Boko Haram set ablaze dozens of homes in its Nigerian birthplace of Borno State, killing at least three and injuring seven others.
“Just yesterday, we heard on the radio that Boko Haram has been defeated, just less than 2 hours later they killed our people, burnt down 57 homes, and many were injured. It is saddening,” said Saminu Abba, a survivor of the attack, told Sahara Reporters.
The day after several Nigerian ministers claimed troops had already defeated Boko Haram, news reports surfaced saying the organization’s leader appeared in a video.
Africa’s 24-hour television news broadcaster eNCA reported:
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a video Tuesday pledging to continue attacks days after Nigeria’s military repeated that the jihadist group had been defeated.
The factional leader said in a video message that a recent offensive to clear out Boko Haram’s stronghold of Sambisa forest in [Nigeria’s] Borno State had failed and vowed to keep fighting against Nigeria and western education.
News of the video came a day after Abdulrahman Dambazau, the minister of interior in Nigeria, indicated the terrorist group had “been completely decimated, with its leadership dismantled,” noted Nigerian online news outlet the Cable.
“Corroborating Dambazau’s view, Mansur Dan-Ali, minister of defense, said at least 30,000 women and children have been rescued from Boko Haram insurgents in the last two years,” it added.
The night before the ministers’ comments, Boko Haram razed down a community in Borno state.
Citing local vigilantes, Sahara Reporters revealed, “A dozen of [Boko Haram] terrorists stormed Koffa, some of 5 kilometers from [the Borno capital of] Maiduguri at about 2000hrs started shooting and later razing down 57 homes.”
The Nigerian government has repeatedly made false claims about defeating the group.
While Shekau claimed the recent Nigerian offensive against the Boko Haram stronghold within the Sambisa Forest failed, Maj. Gen. Rogers Nicholas, the commander of the operation, claimed otherwise.
“My soldiers are in the heart of Boko Haram enclave that is Camp Zairo, the gallant troops have taken total control of Sambisa Forest,” declared the Nigerian general, according to the Nigerian newspaper Daily Post.
“We have broken the heart and soul of Shekau’s group, taking over the camp and its environs,” he added. “They are on the run, and we are pursuing them to wherever they go. This time around there is no place for escape anywhere.”
Officials have identified the Sambisa Forest, which covers parts of the northeastern Nigerian states of Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, and Kano, as Boko Haram’s last stronghold in the country.
The latest video released by Boko Haram marks the second time in less than two months that the group’s leader reappears in a video soon after the Nigerian government claimed to have dealt a defeating blow to the jihadists.