Abuja: Apparently following the footsteps of fugitive al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, a supposedly dead deputy leader of a sect whose onslaught led to the death of more than 700 persons in northern Nigeria has issued threat of further attacks in a video.
Imam Abubakar Shekau could be seen in a 25-minute video clip brandished an AK-47 gun and proclaiming himself the new leader of the Boko Haram sect whose founder and leader Mohammed Yusuf was killed by the police.
The 25-minute video clip was made available to the local Daily Trust newspaper and its authenticity could not be confirmed.
The video was made available to the newspaper by a journalist who was blindfolded and taken to the hiding place of the sect leader.
Shekau was reported to have died last July when the police attacked Maiduguri town where members of his sect called Boko Haram who preached against Western education had the largest number of followers.
"I will retaliate for the killings of my followers in Maiduguri and other places...Guns are not products of boko... we also can make guns, we even made and used guns," he said.
He claimed to have survived police attacks because he was shot in the thigh and rescued by fellow believers "and protected by Allah".
He insisted that Western education is an abomination and should not be tolerated because of the insertion of various un-Islamic teachings in it.
"We are not fighting Western education itself, what we are opposed to are the various un-Islamic things slotted into it and the system upon which the study of Western education is rested. These are the reasons why we say it`s not permissible to study it."
But Police maintained that Shekau has been killed.
"I have not seen the clip and I cannot comment on what I have not seen. (But) to the best of my knowledge, Shekau and Mohammed Yusuf are dead. If anybody can identify them and tell us their location, we are ready to act. But to us they are dead, if they are alive, they are wanted persons," said Borno State Commissioner of Police Ibrahim Abdu.
Militant Islamic sects often emerge in northern Nigeria and their activities lead to loss of hundreds of lives.
The Boko Haram sect was founded by Yusuf in 2004 and attacked nearby police posts from its bases called "Afghanistan". An investigation in 2009 revealed that the group was arming itself for possible expanded assaults.
When several of its leaders were arrested, a fight ensued between it and security forces and more than 700 died. Their activities were condemned by other Muslim groups.