Kano: The purported leader of Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram has issued new threats in a message posted on YouTube while also saying last week's attacks in Kano were over the torture of its members.
"We were responsible," a voice identified as that of suspected Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau says in audio played over a picture of him. "I ordered it and I will give that order again and again. God gave us victory."
A purported spokesman for the group had earlier claimed responsibility for coordinated bombings and shootings on January 20 in Kano which left at least 185 people dead. Police stations were the main targets.
The authenticity of the message could not be independently verified, but the photo matched up with previous ones said to be of Shekau and the voice was similar to earlier recordings. He says in the message that "we attacked the security formations because our members were arrested and tortured. Our women and children have also been arrested."
The man said to be Shekau then issued another threat: "They should know that they also have wives and children. We can also abduct them. It is not beyond our powers.”
"Soldiers raided an Islamic seminary in Maiduguri and desecrated the Quran. They should bear in mind that they also have primary and secondary schools and universities, and we can also attack them."
The purported leader of the group blamed for hundreds of deaths also accused the authorities of killing civilians in Friday's violence.
"After we finished our war, policemen stuck around and started killing civilians and later blamed us," he said. "We are not fighting civilians, but security forces. We only kill soldiers, policemen and their collaborators."
Friday's attacks were the worst yet attributed to Boko Haram and occurred in a city that serves as the economic heart of Nigeria's mainly Muslim north and a centre of Islamic culture.
First Published: Friday, January 27, 2012, 09:14