GWOZA, Africa — Video footage released on Sunday by the militant Muslim group Boko Haram shows a member of the Islamic sect claiming a predominantly Christian town near Nigeria as an established Islamic state, and declaring that “Allah commands [Muslims] to rule the rest of the world.”
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau appears in the 52-minute video dressed in camouflage and carrying a rifle as he reads text out of a notebook or folder.
“Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in [the town of] Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate,” he declares. “By the grace of Allah, we will not leave the town. We have come to stay.”
According to reports, Gwoza has been under attack by Boko Haram for several years, with violence intensifying in recent months. In June, South Africa Today reported that the death toll in Borno State was estimated at being between 400 to 500 residents, but that an exact tally could not be calculated.
“The killings are massive, but nobody can give a toll for now because nobody has been able to go to that place because the insurgents are still there,” lawmaker Peter Biye stated. “They have taken over the whole area.”
A number of Christians fled Gwoza and the surrounding villages for their lives as Boko Haram attacked neighborhoods earlier this months with explosive devices, fire bombs and assault rifles.
“I thank God for sparing my life, but three of my neighbors and members of our church were killed during the attack,” Pirda Tada of Saha village told Morning Star News. “These Christians in our village had their throats slit with knives while their hands were tied behind their backs. Some houses were bombed as the Boko Haram gunmen were chanting, ‘God is great!’ in Arabic.”
An estimated 300,000 Christians are said to have been displaced to the violence, many of whom have escaped to Cameroon.
Boko Haram had also killed 300 in May in Gamboru Ngala, and in December of last year, 274 houses and 12 church buildings were destroyed by the group throughout the Gwoza hills settlements.
The Islamic terrorist organization, which translated means “Western education is sinful,” had sent a letter in July threatening violence against Christians in the region.
“You have been fleeing your homes, but we are still pursuing you, because the soldiers with you people cannot protect you,” it stated. “Your lives, farmlands and other property are also not safeguarded. Allah willing, we shall not fail to attack your communities and the listed churches in this letter.”
Now, Boko Haram has officially declared Gwoza an Islamic state that will be subject to Sharia Law.
“Allah has granted us success in Gwoza because we have risen to do Allah’s work,” Shekau declared in Sunday’s video footage.
He insinuated that Gwoza was just the beginning as the group seeks to conquer the world as an Islamic state.
“Allah commands us to rule Gwoza by Islamic law,” Shekau announced. “In fact, he commands us to rule the rest of the world, not only Nigeria, and now we have started.”
He threatened France, Israel and the United States during his speech.
“Democracy is worse than homosexuality, worse than sleeping with your mother,” Shekau contended. “You are all pagans and we will kill you. Even if you do not attack us we will kill you … Allah commands us to kill without pity.”
But defense spokesperson Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade said that Boko Haram will not be permitted to simply take control of Gwoza and that the military will continue to fight against the militant Muslim group.
“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,” he told the Telegraph. “Operations to secure that area from the activities of the bandits [are] still ongoing.”