Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Extremist leader: I headed attack on Damaturu

04 November 2013, 20:59

Maiduguri - Islamic militant leader Abubakar Shekau boasts in a new video that he commanded the October 23rd battle in a provincial capital that killed at least 127 people.

All but two were combatants killed during five hours of fierce fighting in Yobe state capital, Damaturu. It was the first major attack on an urban center in months in the Islamic uprising that has northeastern part of the country in its sixth month of a state of emergency.

It Boko Haram's latest show of strength in the face of a nearly 6-month-long military crackdown in which security forces swiftly freed major urban centers and towns under the sway of the religious extremists. But they have been struggling to hunt the militants down in hideouts believed to be forests and caves and across borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger, from which they emerge to attack soft targets like schools and villages. Hundreds of civilians have been killed by Boko Haram in recent weeks.

The video, obtained Monday and dubbed The Battle of Damaturu, shows the bearded Shekau in military camouflage, cradling an AK-47 automatic rifle and speaking in Arabic, Hausa and his native Kanuri as he sings the praises of Allah.

"My brethren, this is the story I want to tell my brothers and the whole world: All this weaponry that you are seeing — it is Allah who gave this to his worshippers who are fighting for Jihad — all this ammunition was obtained in just one place."

The blurry video pans to a masked and armed fighter standing amid hundreds of guns and ammunition belts and scores of boxes — all of which Shekau claims was captured in Damaturu.

He said he does not need to tell the world how many soldiers were killed — implying it was many — and accuses the military of lying about its casualties.

The military says it killed 70 extremists that day in a shootout at a checkpoint just outside Damaturu and that it "neutralized" the attackers, who then regrouped to attack Damaturu, where another 25 were killed. During that fighting, the militants set ablaze four police command posts in different areas of the city and an army barracks on its outskirts. They also looted the hospital's store of medication and took off with two ambulances.

The military says it killed a total of 95 insurgents and lost 22 soldiers and eight police officers. An AP reporter who visited the mortuary counted 17 bodies in police uniform and 31 bodies said to belong to extremists.

The military also claimed two months ago that Shekau "may have been killed" in an attack. When Shekau put out a video to prove he was still alive, the military said it was investigating the video to see if someone was impersonating the leader of the religious extremists.

The fighting at Damaturu overshadowed a major victory in which the military in neighboring Borno state said they bombed two "terrorist camps" and followed through with ground assaults that killed 74 insurgents while two soldiers were wounded.

On Saturday, suspected extremists attacked a wedding convoy on a highway in a rural area of Borno state, with authorities giving conflicting accounts of the death toll ranging from five to as many as 30, including the groom.

Boko Haram's Islamic uprising poses the biggest threat in decades to the security and cohesion of the country, a fractious nation that is Africa's most populous with more than 160 million people almost equally divided between the mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south. The West African country is Africa's biggest oil producer.

- AP

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...