/ 29 January 2012

Sorry for the inconvenience, Islamists tell under siege residents

Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists urged residents of the flashpoint city of Kano to “persevere” as the group attacks the country’s security services, in leaflets distributed around the city.

The content of the leaflets, distributed in four areas of the mainly Muslim northern hub late Saturday, could not be independently verified, but was described as a message from Abubakar Muhammad Shekau, the head of the group that killed at least 185 in the city on January 20.

Boko Haram is aware of “the atmosphere of inconvenience our operations have thrown people into,” the leaflet said.

The city has been hit by a series of unprecedented attacks in recent days, which have largely targetted the police.

“You should… persevere with the difficult situation the struggle for the entrenchment of an Islamic system puts you in and seek reward from God by supporting it.”

The documenmt also restated claims that the group, blamed for more than 200 deaths already this year, does not target civilians.

“We have on several occasions explained the categories of people we attack and they include: government officials, government security agents, Christians loyal to CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) and whoever collaborates in arresting or killing us even if he is a Muslim,” the document said.

The president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Reverend Ayo Oritsejafor, urged followers to defend themselves following Christmas Day bombings blamed on Boko Haram — the deadliest of which killed 44 people outside a Catholic church near the capital Abuja.

Boko Haram has previously distributed leaflets around Nigeria’s restive north.

The document further said that attempts to pacify the deeply-impoverished mainly Muslim northern region through interfaith dialogue were an “apostacy.”

“Certainly the prophet lived with non-Muslims and entered into a pact with them but on specified terms, including the pledge that they would not desecrate our religion,” the leaflet said.

The group has said it wants to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. The south of the country is mainly Christian. — AFP