Boko Haram Islamists, after hitting churches, warn of more attacks on media

May 2, 2012

(Burnt newspaper copies are seen in the rubble of a destroyed This Day newspaper building in Abuja April 28, 2012. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde)

Islamist group Boko Haram released a video late on Tuesday celebrating its bombing of a Nigerian newspaper and warning of more attacks on local and foreign media if they published reports that were biased to the sect or insulting to Islam.  Suicide car bombers targeted the offices of This Day in the capital, Abuja, and northern city of Kaduna last Thursday, killing at least five people in apparently coordinated strikes.

Boko Haram has been fighting a low-level insurgency for more than two years and has become the main security threat facing Africa’s top oil producer, although most attacks have been in the largely Muslim north, far from southern oil fields. The sect, which wants to impose an Islamic state on Nigeria’s more or less evenly mixed population of Muslim and Christians, has been blamed for hundreds of killings since its uprising against the government in 2009.

It had not previously targeted the press in its bombing campaign, although last October it killed a reporter for state TV who the sect said was an informant to President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

The video posted on the Internet opens with a Koranic song and a drawing of the Koran sitting on two crossed AK-47s. A banner in the northern Hausa language says: “Message from Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihadl (Boko Haram’s full name): on why we attacked ThisDay”.

It then plays a video tape shot from a distance of the ThisDay Abuja office, which promptly explodes into a ball of flames and grey smoke – that suggests the sect had a cameraman set up in anticipation of the strike. “We attacked Thisday because we will never forget or forgive anyone who abused our Prophet,” a voice booms in Hausa.

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