A new Boko Haram video which was obtained by AFP news agency yesterday showed the sect leader, Abubakar Shekau, and his fighters in an armoured vehicle, openly moving around in an unidentified town they apparently control and preaching to locals.
According to the agency, it was not possible to tell whether the footage was staged for propaganda purposes, especially scenes of residents cheering the militants.
“We have indeed established an Islamic caliphate,” he said, restating a call he first made in August.
Shekau, in the 44-minute video, again dismissed government’s claims about ceasefire talks and threatened to kill the man who presented himself as Boko Haram’s negotiator.
In the video, he seemed to associate the territory under his control with a wider, global caliphate, but he did not submit to the authority of any other jihadist leader.
The sect leader voiced support for other so-called caliphates, including the one proclaimed in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State (IS) group.
“To everyone living in Islamic Caliphate, we convey our greetings,” he said, specifically mentioning “brethren” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Shishan (an Islamist term for Chechnya), Yemen, Somalia and “the Caliphate in Iraq and Syria.”
The video, which was delivered through the same channels as past messages, shows armed men lined along a well-paved road with three pick-up trucks equipped with heavy weapons.
Later, an armoured vehicle is driven down the road lined with both fighters and individuals who appear to be residents of the town.
The sect’s latest message appears to be aimed at reinforcing Shekau’s claim that he has created a caliphate within Nigeria.
Boko Haram has released a series of videos showing similar military hardware, equipment it says was stolen from the military.
Most of the message is taken up by a sermon from Shekau, delivered indoors but apparently played on a speaker to locals assembled outside.
The images of the sermon include unusually clear close-ups of Shekau, who in past videos has often been shown at a distance, sometimes in grainy footage.
Shekau had previously expressed solidarity with other jihadist groups and leaders, including the IS militants.
A graphic scene shown later includes a picture the IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as well as a portion of the message his group issued on July 1 proclaiming a caliphate in Iraq and Syria.