Thursday, 22 September 2011

Video of Boko Haram's United Nations suicide bomber Mohammed Abul Barra

Videos have emerged purporting to show members of a Nigerian Islamist sect preparing for suicide attacks, including a young man said to be responsible for last month's bombing of the UN headquarters

Nigerian Newspaper "Thisday" Report on Video

Videos have emerged purporting to show members of Boko Haram preparing for suicide attacks, including the image of a young man, Mohammed Abul Barra, said to be responsible for the August 26 bombing of United Nations headquarters in Abuja.

THISDAY has also learnt that last Saturday’s killing of Babakura Fugu, the in-law of the slain Boko Haram leader, apparently for meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, was carried out by the Mamman Nur faction of the sect.

Nur, it would be recalled, was declared wanted by the State Security Service (SSS) for allegedly masterminding the bombing of UN House. The service has now placed a bounty of N25 million on his head.

The two videos obtained by AFP are said to be from Boko Haram and come as concern intensifies over whether it has formed links with outside groups such as Al-Qaeda’s North African branch.

The two videos said to be from the group include speeches totaling some 25 minutes from the alleged UN bomber.

AFP did not verify the authenticity of the videos, but said they seem to offer a window into a form of religious extremism in the country.

They bear hallmarks of past Boko Haram clips and feature speeches by a man identified as Abubakar Shekau, its suspected leader, who went into hiding following a 2009 uprising by the group, AFP reported.

While the sect was long considered a domestic group targeting symbols of Nigerian authority, the videos also show an international emphasis.

They are mostly in the Hausa language but also partly in Arabic.

The voice said to be Shekau’s calls the UN headquarters a “forum of all the global evil” while also offering praise for Osama bin Laden.

The video focusing on the UN bombing, which was among the deadliest targeting the world body, is more than an hour and 15 minutes long.

A soft-spoken, 27-year-old smiling man said to be the UN bomber pleaded with his family to understand his actions, and a vague warning was sent out to “Obama and other infidels”.

During much of his time on the video, he held an AK-47 with two others leaning against the wall. Two gas canisters were on the floor at his feet.

He was rail-thin and wore a striped, polo-style shirt, a turban and what looked to be a suicide vest.

In a phone interview with AFP, a man who claimed to be a spokesman for the sect identified the alleged bomber as Mohammed Abul Barra, a married auto repair worker (mechanic) from Maiduguri, where the group has carried out most of its attacks.

His name was picked in a draw because a number of others also wanted to carry out the mission, according to the spokesman, who identified himself as Abu Qaqa.

The SSS claimed in the days after the UN attack that an Al-Qaeda-linked suspect who recently returned from Somalia, Nur, masterminded the blast. He was declared wanted.

Nur was believed to be third-in-command of Boko Haram when it launched the 2009 uprising.

In one of the videos, reference was also made to an attempted attack on police headquarters in Maiduguri on August 15 and an image was shown of the man said to be the bomber, who was killed by the police officers before the explosives detonated.

Photos of the man killed by police taken by journalists bear a resemblance to the person in the video.

The second video showed the “martyr” for an attack at the police headquarters in Abuja in June, when at least two people were killed.
The videos referred to the group by the name “Jama'atul Ahlil Sunnah lil Da'awal Wal Jihad”, roughly translated as “People Committed to the Prophet’s Teachings for Propagation and Jihad” as a previous video had done.

In the meantime, Fugu’s assassination was said to have been carried out by the Nur group because he was believed to be assisting security agencies in the arrest of suspected members of the sect.

Fugu, whose sister was married to Mohammed Yusuf, the founder of Boko Haram, was believed to have been killed by one Ustaz Mote, who grew up with the Fugus but is believed to be loyal to Nur.

Security agents are currently on the trail of Mote, according to sources within the Joint Military Task Force.

Abubakar Shekau, who is believed to be the spiritual leader of the sect, was reportedly angry over the assassination which he considered to be a further loss in the Fugu family.

The patriarch, Baba Fugu, was killed in the 2009 uprising after turning himself in to the police in Maiduguri.

Shekau, according to sources, described Saturday’s killing as “immoral” because he believed the Fugu family had every right to seek compensation for the perceived injustice it suffered in 2009.

SSS Sunday offered N25 million to any individual who will provide information that will lead to his arrest.

In a statement signed by the agency’s Assistant Director, Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, she said “Following the bombing of the United Nations (UN) building on 26th August, 2011 in Abuja by Boko Haram, which claimed about twenty three (23) lives, Mamman NUR was identified as the mastermind and security agencies subsequently declared him wanted.”

She further stated that, “A reward of twenty five million naira (N25,000,000) is being offered for information that could lead directly to the apprehension or conviction of Mamman NUR.”

The statement also stressed that “if you have any information concerning this person, please contact the nearest police station, military formation or any other security agency.”