Article written

  • on 26.08.2014
  • at 11:16 AM
  • by Kevin Hind

‘We don’t believe in Nigeria’: Boko Haram declares an Islamic Caliphate 0

Nigeria – According to Boko Haram, north-eastern Nigeria no longer belongs to the Nigerian government. Instead, it’s now part of an Islamic Caliphate. We’re not yet sure who exactly this Caliphate answers to, but it’s certainly not President Goodluck Jonathan. What’s Jonathan going to do about it?

And so it came to pass. In another lengthy, vitriolic and at times gruesome video, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau declared the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in north-eastern Nigeria. “We are in an Islamic Caliphate,” said Shekau, flanked by masked fighters and cradling a machine gun. “We have nothing to do with Nigeria. We don’t believe in this name.”

Boko Haram’s Caliphate is based in north-eastern Nigeria, and is centred around the cities of Damboa and Gwoza. Its establishment is no surprise (as predicted in the Daily Maverick earlier this month). Since April, Boko Haram – or Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’Awati Wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Prophet’s Teachings for Propagation and Jihad), which is the group’s actual name – has drastically changed its tactics, seeking to occupy territory in addition to its usual guerrilla attacks.

This is, apparently, in conscious imitation of the success enjoyed in Iraq and Syria by the Islamist group that now calls itself the Islamic State. It is unclear yet whether Shekau intends his territory to form part of the Caliphate declared by the Islamic State, or whether Shekau wants to create his own, and therefore rival, Caliphate.

Nigerian security forces have dismissed the proclaimed secession, and vowed to hit back. “Any group of terrorists laying claim to any portion of the country will not be allowed to get away with that expression of delusion and crime. Operations to secure that area from the activities of the bandits [are] still ongoing,” said defence spokesman Chris Olukolade.

Okulade’s bravado masks a more disturbing reality: Nigeria’s military has been completely unable to dislodge Boko Haram from the group’s new strongholds.

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By Simon Allison Daily Maverick

Photo credit: Your Black Bloggers

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