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Boko Haram targets media in Nigeria

May 2, 2012 at 1:10 PM   |   Comments

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 2 (UPI) -- Militant Nigerian Islamic group Boko Haram is threatening the nation's media.

Boko Haram, which is formally known as Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad, is fighting to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria. The group wants the country to be governed under Islamic Shariah law.

Suicide car bombers targeted the offices of the newspaper This Day on April 26 in Abuja and the northern city of Kaduna killing at least five people in coordinated strikes.

Boko Haram subsequently claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Boko Haram released an 18-minute video on the Internet outlining some of the reasons for the attacks, The Leadership newspaper reported Wednesday.

The posting includes videotape shot of the This Day Abuja's office exploding into flames, which indicates that the militants had a cameraman in place to record the strike.

The voice-over on the videotape says This Day was targeted because the newspaper "was used in dishonoring" the Prophet Mohammad in a November 2002 beauty pageant.

"No one has the power to forgive this type of offense and the judgment is for such persons to be killed," the tape says. "This lady that committed this crime, the judgment on her is to be killed at any opportunity."

Boko Haram said it planned to continue such attacks "until we drive them out of existence."

The voice on the tape goes on to say, "These media houses have committed a lot of offenses that are detrimental to Islam, and we don't have the power to forgive them. We will take revenge on them by God's grace."

Boko Haram said media outlets were divided into three groups: "The first group is the likes of This Day, whose offenses are big." Also, a second group Boko Haram threatened with attack included publications Punch, Daily Sun, Vanguard, Guardian, Nation, Tribune, and National Accord; with the third being Voice of America Hausa radio.

"All these media houses, we will attack them including their staff and offices, by Allah's grace," Boko Haram said.

Boko Haram appears to be gaining strength from an alliance with al-Qaida in North Africa. The emergence of Islamic extremists from Nigeria would mark a tightening merger between two dangerous organizations.

Nigerian authorities have suspected that Boko Haram -- the name means "Western education is sinful" in the Hausa language -- has splintered into several factions, with Islamic extremists moving away from the parent movement.

These militants are seen as responsible for a sharp escalation in attacks in Nigeria, including suicide bombings and kidnapping Westerners that have been al-Qaida trademarks, in recent months.

Nigerian security authorities say this faction allied with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the jihadist movement's North African branch, which has provided paramilitary training and doctrine for the Nigerian fighters whose operations until 2011 were limited to drive-by shootings and killing Christians.
© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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