WorldWide Religious News
Nigeria Sect Leader Threatens President in Message
Lagos, Nigeria - An audio message allegedly posted to the Internet by the leader of a radical Islamist sect in Nigeria threatens the oil-rich nation's president and denies its members killed Muslim civilians in an attack last week that left at least 185 people dead.
Meanwhile, unrest continued across the north with the kidnapping of a German on Thursday and the killing of 15 traders in a daylight attack by apparent armed robbers.
The video posted to YouTube on Wednesday, shows a still image of Imam Abubakar Shekau sitting on a beige sofa, a Kalashnikov rifle at his back. Speaking at times in Arabic, English and the Hausa language of Nigeria's Muslim north, Shekau said negotiations suggested by President Goodluck Jonathan between the sect and the government will not happen.
"He's lying. He cannot do it," Shekau said. "If Jonathan does not repent as a Muslim, even if I die myself, Jonathan's going to see. He's looking at me like I'm nobody, but he'll see."
In the message, Shekau acknowledged that Boko Haram carried out the Jan. 20 attacks in Kano, Nigeria's second-largest city, that killed at least 185 people. Gunmen from the sect armed with explosives and assault rifles, some wearing army and police uniforms, others suicide car bombers, attacked police stations, immigration offices and the local headquarters of Nigeria' secret police.
However, Shekau denied killing civilians in the attack, claiming the sect's gunmen tried to protect the more than 9 million people who live in the important city in Nigeria's north.
"We're killing police officers, we're killing soldiers and other government people who are fighting Allah and Christians who are killing Muslims and talking badly about our Islamic religion," Shekau said. "I am not against anyone, but if Allah asks me to kill someone, I will kill him and I will enjoy killing him like I am killing a chicken."
Boko Haram wants to implement strict Shariah law and avenge the deaths of Muslims in communal violence across Nigeria, a multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people split largely into a Christian south and Muslim north. The group, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the Hausa language of Nigeria's north, has now killed at least 262 people in 2012, more than half of the at least 510 people the sect killed in all of 2011, according to an Associated Press count.
The attack by Boko Haram comes during continued unrest across Nigeria's north. In Kano, gunmen kidnapped a German citizen Thursday working for Dantata & Sawoe Construction Company Ltd.
German Foreign Ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke told journalists Friday that the embassy and a ministry crisis unit were working hard to resolve the case.
"I can't yet report any substantial progress," Peschke said.
Meanwhile, Zamfara state spokesman Ibrahim Muhammad Birnin Magaji said Friday that gunmen killed 15 Muslim traders on their way to market. Birnin Magaji said the gunmen burned the bodies of their victims in a rural village in Katsina state on Thursday, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) from Kano.
He said authorities suspect an armed robbery attack, but no goods were reported missing.