You can’t defeat us, Boko Haram leader dares Jonathan


 Defends attacks on Xtians
The leader of Boko Haram Islamist militants has defended recent attacks on Christians, saying they are revenge for killings of Muslims.

 In his first video message, posted on YouTube, Abubakar Shekau referred to attacks on Muslims in recent years in several parts of northern Nigeria. Boko Haram militants attacked several churches on Christmas Day, killing dozens of worshippers. This has led to some reprisals in the mainly Christian South. Mosques in two states have been attacked.

 In the 15-minute video, Mr.and white turban, a bullet-proof vest and sitting in front of two Kalashnikov rifles, said he was responding to recent statements from President Goodluck Jonathan and the leader of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

 He warned President Jonathan that Nigeria’s security forces would not be able to defeat the group. Jonathan had declared a state of emergency in some northern states but the attacks had continued. On Tuesday night gunmen opened fire on a bar in the northern state of Yobe, killing eight people, including several police officers. The president recently said he suspected some officials, politicians and members of the security forces sympathized with the Boko Haram.

 Defending the latest spate of violence, Shekau referred to the killing of Muslims in places like Jos, Kaduna, Zangon Kataf, Tafawa Balewa in recent years. “We are also at war with Christians because the whole world knows what they did to us,” Shekau said in the video, speaking in Hausa. “They killed our fellows and even ate their flesh in Jos,” he said, referring to reports last year of isolated cases of Christian youths burning and eating their rivals in Plateau State, where more than 1, 000 people had been killed in a series of clashes over the past two years.

 Christian Association of Nigeria head (CAN), Ayo Oritsejafor, said on Saturday that his members would protect themselves against the attacks, which, he said, suggested, “systematic ethnic and religious cleansing.”

 On Tuesday, he told the BBC World Service that there should be dialogue with Muslim leaders to halt the violence. Shekau said the group could only hold talks with the government in accordance with the teachings of Islam.

 He said the group’s primary target remained the security forces, which, he said, had summarily executed their former leader, Mohammed Yusuf after he was arrested in 2009.
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