Experts comment on the recent video released by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau where he declares caliphate in Nigeria and express their opinion on the the terrorist’s current intentions.
In the fresh Boko Haram video obtained by AFP August 24, the group announced that the captured town of Gwoza was now under an Islamic caliphate, which claim triggered a lot of talks about the actual meaning of the phrase.
On numerous occasions analysts have spolen about the similarity between the Nigerian terrorist group and Islamic State (IS) operating in Iraq, and now they suggest that the pronouncement might be connected with Shekau’s desire to get more media attention like IS.
It is believed that IS might have inspired his scandalous claim made in the new video after the IS had recently attracted the international attention by seizing parts of Iraq and Syria in a brutal onslaught.
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David Cook, a religious studies professor from the United States said:
“I think right now Shekau’s moves are coming from a desire to emulate IS”, adding that the terrorist is “trying to get more media attention” after the international focus shifted from the abduction of Chibok girls to the territorial claims of IS.
An expert on the situation in northern Nigeria Shehu Sani supported his colleague’s point of view saying that Shekau’s move was dictated by the IS example. While Boko Haram had many times expressed their intention to created a strict Islamic state in the country, they did not have a direct plan of how to do it, before now:
“What is happening in Iraq has given them direction” Sani told AFP adding that previously Boko Haram thought they should “overrun the whole country before they declare their (jihadist) republic”, however now they “they have taken a more gradualist approach”.
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Meanwhile the Nigerian Defence insist the territory of the country is intact and call Shekau’s claim “empty”. The declaration was also critically estimated by the group Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC). The group’s statement read that they “totally and unequivocally reject this declaration. We reaffirm our faith in the unity and indissolubility of Nigeria.”