- It’s a ruse, DHQ
- Cautions journalist against coverage in N/East without authorisation
- Five soldiers, 30 terrorists killed in Niger clash
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja and Zacchaeus Somorin with agency reports
The terrorist group, Boko Haram, wednesday released another video threatening to capture President Muhammadu Buhari.
The footage, narrated in Hausa Language, was said to have been shot somewhere in Borno State, where the sect sprang from. It showed suspected terrorists praying on what the narrator said was an Eid ground on Monday, Sallah day.
The video was posted on YouTube wednesday and the group said it was using it to send out message that it remained a strong force.
But the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has rubbished the video as an invention of the social media.
The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, in response to THISDAY inquiries wednesday, urged members of the public to ignore the latest Boko Haram video as a photo shop creation.
Abubakar stated that the terrorists had been decimated militarily, lost ground and only pretending to be alive through the social media.
Earlier yesterday, 30 members of Boko Haram and five Nigerien soldiers were reported killed in fighting in the South-eastern Diffa region of Niger, the defence ministry said in a statement.
According to Reuters, the clash took place on Monday near the village of Toumour, near Lake Chad and the Nigerian border, an area that has been plagued by violence from the Islamist militant group and is under an extended state of emergency.
Fighting began on Monday morning when the army fell into an ambush, the statement said, adding that six soldiers were also injured and two militants were captured. “The Boko Haram fighters were trying to prevent people from praying to mark the feast of sacrifice,” said Laouan Boukar, a resident of Toumour, referring to the important Muslim holiday Eid-el-Kabir that was on Monday
The group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, did not appear in the video, but the narrator said his deputy, whose name was not mentioned, represented him at the gathering. In the video, which was recorded in composite to capture two Eid grounds, the group stated its willingness to continue its jihad against the Nigerian government.
The group also called Buhari an infidel and threatened to capture him. “This is our Eid prayer from us and by the support of our leader Imam Abubakar Al-Shekau. We are extending our greetings to our people and fighters.
“Message to the infidels and the leader of the entire infidels (kefir) who is the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, that he should know we are very strong and doing very good. By the will of Allah under the leadership of our leader (Shekau) we will capture Buhari with our hands.”
The video comes exactly a month after the sect released a similar one which purportedly showed how the Nigerian military coordinated an aerial attack on its hideout that left some of the abducted Chibok girls dead. The military appeared embarrassed by the video and declared three people wanted for allegedly taking part in its release.
The new video also comes a few days after rumours on social media that the federal government had already commenced a prisoner swap with the sect. The rumours said Kabiru Sokoto, a leader of the sect who was convicted for the Christmas Day bombing in 2013 had been released. The rumour later turned out to be false as the prison authority said that the terrorist was still in prison.
The Boko Haram had indicated willingness for a prisoner swap with the federal government in order to release the kidnapped Chibok girls, a move the federal government has said it is willing to consider.
The DHQ, however, dismissed the latest video as an invention of the social media.
Abubakar said the video was photo shopped, adding that the terrorists had been decimated militarily, lost ground and only pretending to be alive through the social media.
He said: “The only ground the BHT can go into and hide and pretend to be alive is social media because it is everybody’s home without tracing the source.
“More so, in this era of cut and paste anything is possible in Information Technology. We reiterate our total commitment and resilience in stamping them out, but people shouldn’t be deceived by their use of photoshop.”
The Defence spokesman noted that the Boko Haram video release was a sign of weakness and an indication that the terror group was a spent force.
He dismissed its threat to kill the president and other key figures mentioned in the video as a huge joke and empty threat to stay afloat through the social media.
“More so, which Boko Haram? I believe the issue of the group is near ending by the special grace of God. The video is a complete sign of weakness and poses no threat to us. The so called video is an attempt by the remnants to remind us that there was once a Boko Haram elements.
“Empty vessels make the loudest sound. Issue of threat to PMB is a complete joke and dream of the century. Therefore, the entire clip is a washout as everybody is appreciative of our feat against BHT and there is no doubt about it . They too know,” he said.
In a related development, Abubakar noted that certain journalists embarked on the coverage of security areas in the North-east for documentary purpose and the like without due authorisation from the military authorities.
He warned: “This practice is not only capable of jeopardising the success of the on-going military operations in the area but also poses great concern to the safety of the journalists concerned.”
He stressed that inasmuch as the military was not trying to gag the press from carrying out its legitimate duties, permission should be sought from the Armed Forces before embarking on such venture.
According to him, this will enable adequate security to be provided for such journalists by the military.
“Even though Boko Haram has been substantially decimated, any roaming journalist could be a target of unsuspecting fleeing Boko Haram member and this will not be in the best interest of media organisations and the nation at large,” he added.
Abubakar advised that any journalist desirable of covering conflict areas should seek permission from the military hierarchy so that adequate security arrangements could be provided by the troops on the ground.
He maintained that it was also the responsibility of the military to safeguard the lives and property of the Nigerian citizenry, including law abiding journalists in the theatre of operation and in Nigeria in general.
A reliable source from the Nigerian Army told THISDAY yesterday that preliminary investigation showed that the latest Boko Haram video was an edited version of the one it released in 2014.
“I am still laughing at the gullibility of some people; the video was shot in 2014. They only edited and imposed some aspects,” the senior officer said.