KANO, Nigeria – Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said he has created an ‘caliphate’ in a northeast Nigeria town seized by the insurgents earlier this month, in a video obtained by AFP on Sunday.
“Thanks be to Almighty Allah who gave victory to our brethren in (the town of) Gwoza and made it part of the caliphate," Shekau said in the 52-minute video. He declared that Gwoza, in Borno state, now has nothing to do with Nigeria. Analysts say Boko Haram may be closer than ever to achieving its goal of creating a ‘caliphate’ in northern Nigeria but the military can reverse the group's gains.
The conflict in the northeastern stronghold remains in flux even as witnesses, security sources and experts report that the insurgents have seized several areas and towns since April. The northeast, under a state of emergency since May last year, has poor mobile phone coverage, travel is dangerous and the military has restricted the flow of information.
The United Nations has confirmed reports that the towns of Damboa and Gwoza in Borno State were under rebel control earlier this month, although Damboa may have since been retaken. Witnesses and an official in Buni Yadi in neighbouring Yobe state said that the town had also been seized.