Leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, said in a YouTube message today that the sect’s spokesman, Abu Qaqa, is still alive.
In a short video in Hausa language, Shekau claimed that 10 wives of Boko Haram members are currently being detained by Nigerian officials, an action he described as “demeaning,” and threatened a round of reprisals on wives of government officials.
In the video, the Boko Haram leader also threatened violence by the group over a recent anti-Islam video which denigrates Prophet Mohammed. Two weeks ago, Nigeria troops recently claimed they had killed some senior commanders of Boko Haram near Kano and arrested others.
One of those reportedly killed was Qaqa. Previously, last February, the JTF also claimed it had arrested Qaqa, but the Boko Haram leadership denied the announcement, insisting that the man under arrest was not Qaqa but Abu Darda, who was identified as the head of the group’s enlightenment committee. “Qaqa” continued to speak for the group until last month when he was said to have been killed or arrested. Nothing has been heard from him since then, and his status remains unclear.
Today’s announcement by Shekau is another challenge to the intelligence-management abilities of the Nigerian government and its Joint Task Force, which has been conducting unprecedented operations in some States in the North in the past two weeks.