With the Islamic State’s brutality and its staking of an Islamic caliphate in areas of Iraq and Syria dominating headlines, another militant group is claiming that it, too, has placed a town in Nigeria under a caliphate.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau made the land claim in a newly released video, pledging to continue killing and pillaging in the name of Allah.
“Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in [the town of] Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate,” Shekau said. “By the grace of Allah we will not leave the town. We have come to stay.”
According to the Telegraph, Shekau has expressed support in the past for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, which is unleashing brutality on minority groups in Iraq and Syria. But despite this past support, it is unclear whether the northeastern town of Gwoza in Nigeria is considered part of the same caliphate established in Iraq and Syria — or a new, unrelated territory solely under Boko Haram’s control.
In other portions of the remarks translated and reported by Reuters, among other outlets, Shekau said that his group achieved success in Gwoza because it had “risen to do Allah’s work.”
And he offered up a chilling pledge to continue his extremist push for more land and power.
“Allah commands us to rule Gwoza by Islamic law,” he said, speaking as two armed gunman surrounded him. “In fact, he commands us to rule the rest of the world, not only Nigeria, and now we have started.”
Consider the description of another attack that Boko Haram reportedly waged in the town of Gamboru Sunday, as a local businesswoman who fled described to Reuters the horrific scene she observed.
“They were shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ (God is Greatest) and were shooting sporadically,” Alice Adejuwon told the outlet. “We saw corpses on the streets as we ran out of the town.”
Nigerian military officials have denied Shekau’s claim that Gwoza is under the militant group’s control and conditions on the ground are so difficult and dangerous that it’s impossible at this point to determine which areas of land have been seized, if any. Some witnesses have reportedly said, though, that police and military were pushed out of the area, according to Reuters.
Shekau also described democracy as “worst than homosexuality” or “sleeping with your mother” in the video and he pledged to continue his killing spree.
“Allah commands us to kill without pity,” he said.
After Shekau made these proclamations, the Telegraph reported that additional footage in the video showed militants firing rockets and grenades, seemingly taking over a base, stealing weapons and murdering victims, though it is unclear when these clips were taken.