A new video, purportedly from the leader of the Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram, threatens to increase violence in Cameroon unless the neighbouring country embraces Islam.
The video was released on YouTube this week and shows a man firing shots into the air with a Kalashnikov and standing alongside other militants. It is alleged that the man speaking is Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, although this has not been verified. The Nigerian military claimed it had killed Shekau in 2013 but he has appeared in several videos since then claiming to still be alive.
Boko Haram, which means “Western education is forbidden”, has killed thousands and kidnapped hundreds as it attempts to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. It has also begun targeting neighbouring Cameroon over the last year: on New Year’s Day, suspected Boko Haram militants killed at least 15 people in northern Cameroon.
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Boko Haram came to international attention in April 2014, when 276 girls from Chibok secondary school were abducted by the militant organisation, leading to the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.
According to Human Rights Watch, Boko Haram has abducted more than 500 women and girls since 2009. These abductions have intensified since May 2013 after Nigeria imposed a state of emergency in areas of the country where Boko Haram is most active.