Nigeria-based terror group Boko Haram announced in a video released Sunday that it had carved up a town in the West African nation to be part of the new caliphate.
The al-Qaeda affiliate overran Gwoza, a city of about 275,000 in Borno state, the region where the kidnapping of Chibok schoolgirls touched off the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.
Boko Haram terrorists have also been steadily taking towns near Gwoza, driving out Nigerian soldiers sent to guard the villages.
Last week, Boko Haram attacked the Mobile Police Training School. About three dozen policemen were missing after the raid.
“Following the attack launched by insurgents on the Gwoza Training camp of the Nigeria Police Mobile Force (PMF), the Inspector-General of Police, Ag. IGP Suleiman Abba has since ordered the tightening of security around all police facilities in the country in addition to efforts made to further protect the lives of all people in Nigeria and their properties,” Force Public Relations Officer DCP Emmanuel Ojukwud said in a statement.
“Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in (the town of) Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate,” Abubakar Shekau declared in a 52-minute video obtained by Agence France-Presse.
Shekau added that the Boko fighters wanted to someday make pilgrimage to Mecca, but not while the Saudis controlled the holy site.
The leader stressed that Gwoza now has “nothing to do with Nigeria.”
Nigeria has faded to the backseat in Washington as attention has been focused on the heart of the caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
Vice President Joe Biden met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who has been criticized for a slow response to the schoolgirls’ kidnapping in April. The majority of the girls are still missing.
The Obama administration has maintained that better economic opportunity in Nigeria will naturally halt the gains of the al-Qaeda affiliate. Activists have criticized the White House for glossing over the true nature of Boko Haram and the threats posed by the terror group.
“The Vice President welcomed the Government of Nigeria’s work to improve its business climate, which continues to attract U.S. investors. The President and Vice President agreed on the importance of deepening trade and investment, and the critical role that access to electricity—including through the advancement of Power Africa—plays in supporting that goal,” the White House said in a readout of the Biden meeting with Jonathan. “Lastly, the President and Vice President discussed Nigeria’s efforts to counter Boko Haram. The Vice President reiterated U.S. partnership in defeating the terrorist threat and the need to pursue holistic approaches that respect and protect human rights. The Vice President also underscored the importance of supporting Nigeria’s effort to improve the socioeconomic and security conditions in northern Nigeria.”