Abubakar Shekau, who took over leadership of Boko Haram after its founder was killed in 2009, is purportedly the voice behind a recording in which the militant Islamist group said it takes responsibility for twin bombings targeting the University of Maiduguri that killed at least two people. Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Justice
Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Self-proclaimed Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said his militant Islamist group is responsible for bombings at University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, that killed at least two people.
Two suicide bombers also died in the attacks on Monday that injured at least 17 others. Police said one of the bombers was a 12-year-old girl. Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency said one explosion occurred at a staff mosque and the second at an entrance gate of the university.
A video recording featuring the voice of a man who identified himself as Shekau later circulated on social media.
Boko Haram's stronghold is in the Sambisa forest. Nigerian officials have often, at times incorrectly, said the militant group has been defeated and that Shekau has been killed.
Shekau, who in the recording referenced Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, said the mosque was attacked because it was "ungodly."
"The bomb that happened this morning, it's my people. Don't deceive people that it's a mosque, how would you build a mosque and do ungodly things in it," the man who identified himself as Shekau said. "We are not angry with Nigeria. You didn't kill anyone in Sambisa. We are praying that we don't change; Koran is our teacher; this is the message we are sending to you. Are you [Buhari] as powerful as God?"
In the recording, the man dismissed reports of his death.
"You should know it's Shekau talking and I'm alive and it's we that did it," the voice said.
Boko Haram was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department in 2013. The militant Islamic group seeks to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria and has ruthlessly targeted civilians.