Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau vowed to disrupt Nigeria’s general election in a new video released yesterday, after two suicide attacks in the northeast blamed on the Islamists killed 38 people.
In the ninth minutes of the video which lasted for 11 minutes 57 seconds, Shekau began to talk about Nigeria’s election, stating that, it will not hold in peace.
“This election will not be held even if we are dead. Even if we are not alive Allah will never allow you to do it,” Shekau said in the Hausa language, presumably referring to the polls scheduled for March 28.
The video appeared to be the first message released by the group on Twitter, a sign of its changing media tactics after previous messages were distributed to journalists on DVD.
Shekau was shown in unusual clarity in front of a solid blue background, dressed in black and with an automatic weapon resting to his right.
He also claimed a weekend attack in the northeast Nigerian city of Gombe, which the military says was repelled.
“And these words are our reply to the current issue that people are talking about,” Shekau said in apparent response to the accusations and counter-accusations regarding election postponement.
“Allah will not let you people hold this election because you people are saying that “authority” people ruling each other,” he said.
The Islamist leader, declared a global terrorist by the United States and sanctioned by the United Nations, disputed the military’s account of the Gombe clashes, claiming that his fighters overran troops and freed insurgents from prison.
Nigeria’s general election had been scheduled for February 14 but was postponed by six weeks, with the security services saying they needed more time to contain the violence in the northeast, Boko Haram’s stronghold.
Despite Shekau’s threat, experts doubt that the Islamist rebels have the capacity to disrupt voting nationwide, although election officials have conceded that voting could prove impossible in parts of the northeast.