The infamous Boko Haram sect led by Abubakar Shekau, Monday, released another video which depicts women and children apparently being held hostage.
Shekau also claimed responsibility for two recent deadly attacks in the northeastern Nigeria. “We are the ones that carried out the Bama attack,” He said in the Hausa language, referring to the May 7 assault that killed 55 people. He also claimed an April 16 raid in the town of Baga that sparked clashes with soldiers which killed at least 187.
We have abducted women and children in response to the arrest of our members’ wives and children, Shekau added. According to reports from Daily Independent, the group has rejected an amnesty offered by the government to end the insurgency that has killed at least some 2,000 people in the past three years.
Boko Haram has repeatedly accused the security forces of illegally detaining the relatives of its members, saying their release was a pre-condition for any truce.
In the video, Shekau did not name the women and children whom he said the group had seized, or say how many they were. He confirmed the group had carried out a series of attacks in recent weeks – including a raid on 7 May by about 200 heavily-armed men on Bama village, near Nigeria’s north-eastern border with Cameroon.
“We are the ones that carried out the Bama attack,” he said. Five-five people were killed and 105 prisoners were freed in the attack on a police station, military barracks and government buildings.
Shekau said Boko Haram had also carried out an assault on the northern town of Baga on 16 April. Twenty-two police officers, 14 prison wardens, two soldiers and four civilians are said to have died, along with 13 members of Boko Haram during the five-hour gunbattle.
Rights groups accused the security of retaliating with excessive force, killing nearly 200 people and setting fire to many buildings in the town – an allegation the government denied. In April, Boko Haram released a French family of seven that were abducted in Cameroon in the first cross-border attack carried out by the group.
A confidential Nigerian government report, seen by Reuters news agency, said Boko Haram was paid more than $3m (£2m) to free the hostages. But both France and Cameroon denied paying a ransom.