ABUJA, Nigeria, Sept. 15 (UPI) — Nigeria’s defense department referred to a Boko Haram threat to kill the president as a joke not to be believed.
Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, Nigerian Defense Headquarters’ acting director of defense information, reacted to a 13-minute-long Boko Haram video posted online, in which a leader of the Islamist insurgent group threatens to kill or capture President Muhammadu Buhari, by calling it a sign of weakness. Abubakar said Boko Haram has been so severely weakened by a concentrated assault by the Nigerian military and police that the Internet is the only place it has any strength.
“The only place they have [an] agenda for now is the social media,” Abubakar said. “The only ground the Boko Haram can go to hide and pretend to be alive is the social media because it is everybody’s home. The so-called video is an attempt by the remnants to remind us that there were once some Boko Haram elements. The issue of the threat to capture PMB [President Muhammadu Buhari] is a complete joke and a dream of the century. Therefore, the entire clip should be ignored as everybody is appreciative of our feat against Boko Haram. It is not just an empty threat; it is a threat that has no substance at all. It is a senseless threat from their imagination. Nigeria should simply ignore it.”
The video depicts Boko Haram forces in a prayer for the Eid-al-Adha holiday, and an unidentified leader addressing them in Hausa and in Arabic. He identifies himself as a follower of leader Abubakar Shekau, believed by the Nigerian military to have been killed; Shekau does not appear in the video.
“This is a message to the leader of the infidels Buhari, who says he will crush us. Infidels before him made similar threats, Buhari who says he will crush us; in sha Allah [by the grace of Allah] he will only die. By the grace of Allah, under the leadership of the leader of this movement our imam, we will capture Buhari hand to hand…we will deal with all our enemies, we are prepared at all times. Just as you all love life, so do we love death. This time around, no retreat, no surrender, in sha Allah. We shall be granted victory over you all,” the leader says.
Boko Haram has kill about 20,000 people in Nigeria since the start of its insurgency in 2009, and displaced more than 2 million. It announced its affiliation with the Islamic State in 2015.