LAGOS - A leader of a radical Muslim sect that left 700 people dead in Nigeria has allegedly issued a video-taped threat calling for new violence as the one-year anniversary of the attacks nears.
Imam Abubakar Shekau, whom police claimed to have killed during the July 2009 violence, told a Nigerian journalist that he had taken over as leader of the Boko Haram sect.
He said he suffered a gunshot wound to the thigh during the fighting, but had been rescued by fellow believers and protected by Allah. "I have the intention to retaliate."
The Associated Press could not verify the authenticity of the recording cited by Nigeria's Daily Trust newspaper yesterday. Police officers could not be immediately reached for comment.
The newspaper said a reporter got the 25-minute interview with Shekau on April 19 after being blindfolded and driven to a hideout near Maiduguri, the site of much of the violence last year. The interview took place with Shekau seated before a stack of religious books and near an AK-47 rifle.
Asked where the sect obtained its weapons, Shekau answered: "We get them from where we get them. God said we should get them, the holy prophet said we should get them."
Boko Haram - which means in Hausa "Western education is sacrilege" - has campaigned for the implementation of strict Shariah law.
Nigeria, a nation of 150million people, is divided between the Christian-dominated south and the Muslim-held north. A dozen states across Nigeria's north already have Shariah law in place, though the area remains under the control of secular state governments. - Sapa-AP