Nigerian `bomber` videos emerge
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Last Updated: Sunday, September 18, 2011, 14:33
  
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 producer.

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 in Abuja.

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."

PTI


First Published: Sunday, September 18, 2011, 14:33


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