Lagos: Videos have emerged purporting to
show members of a Nigerian Islamist sect preparing for suicide
attacks, including a young man said to be responsible for last
month`s bombing of UN headquarters.
The two videos obtained by a news agency are said to be from the
sect known as Boko Haram and come as concern intensifies over
whether it has formed links with outside groups such as
al Qaeda`s north African branch.
The possibility of such links has led to deep concern
among Western nations and mounting pressure on the government
in Nigeria, Africa`s most populous country and its largest oil
General Carter Ham, the head of the US military`s Africa
Command, said that al Qaeda`s north African branch, Shebab
militants in Somalia and Boko Haram have expressed a will to
"more closely collaborate and synchronise their efforts".
Boko Haram`s attacks have grown increasingly
sophisticated, and it had not been known to target
international institutions before the United Nations bombing
A man who identified himself as a spokesman for Boko
Haram claimed responsibility for the bombing on the day of the
August 26 attack.
The two videos said to be from the group include speeches
totalling some 25 minutes from the alleged UN bomber.
It was not possible to verify the authenticity of the
videos, but they seem to offer a window into a form of
Islamist extremism in Nigeria that authorities have so far
shown little capability of addressing.
They bear hallmarks of past Boko Haram clips and feature
speeches by a man identified as Abubakar Shekau, its suspected
leader who went into hiding following a 2009 uprising by the
group put down by a military assault.
While the sect was long considered a domestic group
targeting symbols of Nigerian authority, the videos also show
an international emphasis.
They are mostly in the Hausa language widely spoken in
the country`s mainly Muslim north, but also partly in Arabic.
The voice said to be Shekau`s calls the UN headquarters a
"forum of all the global evil," while also offering praise for
Osama bin Laden.
The video focusing on the UN bombing, which killed at
least 23 people and was among the deadliest targeting the
world body, is more than an hour and 15 minutes long.
A soft-spoken, 27-year-old smiling man said to be the UN
bomber pleads with his family to understand his actions, and a
vague warning is sent out to "Obama and other infidels."