“Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in (the town of) Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate,” Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau says in a 52-minute video obtained by AFP on Sunday, which also apparently shows the execution of civilians.
The Nigerian military has rejected the claim, stating that the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nigerian state is still intact.”
The Islamic extremist group has waged a war on the central government and targeted Nigeria’s Christians and moderate Muslims for over five years, bombing churches, schools, villages and government buildings; killing pastors and entire congregations; kidnapping schoolchildren by the hundreds.
Human Rights Watch announced in July that the extremist group had killed at least 2,053 civilians in over 95 attacks during the first half of 2014 alone. HRW accused Boko Haram of committing “atrocities” which constitute “crimes against humanity,” and insisted that that the extremist need to be held to account.