Boko Haram Video Applauds 'Charlie Hebdo' Massacre & Warns Against Publishing Future Muhammad Cartoons
The same day al Qaeda in Yemen officially claimed responsibility for the recent terrorist attacks in France, another terrorist group, Nigeria's Boko Haram, applauded the Charlie Hebdo massacre that killed 12 people, most of whom were journalists and cartoonists. On Wednesday, the terrorist group uploaded a video onto YouTube congratulating the gunmen in the deadly Charlie Hebdo attack, as well as the lone gunman who took hostages at a French kosher market last Friday, according to Bloomberg News. The video has reportedly been verified by jihadi monitoring group Flashpoint Intelligence.
In the eight-minute-long video, the man who's believed to be the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, speaks in Arabic directly to the camera. An AK-47 assault rifle is strapped to his body. Shekau says in the video:
The alleged Boko Haram leader also proclaims "Allahu Akbar," which translates to "God is great," several times. Charlie Hebdo gunmen Said and Cherif Kouachi reportedly shouted the phrase immediately following the assault on the satirical weekly's offices. According to NBC News, in the video Shekau warned the publishers of Charlie Hebdo about publishing representations of Muhammad, the Muslim prophet, which the group sees as an insult. The warnings came the same day the publication printed 1 million copies — much more than its normal circulation — of its newest issue, which features a cartoon of Muhammad on the cover.
Although the Boko Haram video has been removed from YouTube, a short clip purported to be from the video is still online. It's the latest video to surface online from the African terrorist group, which recently waged its own massive massacre in northeastern Nigeria. According to reports, about 2,000 people were believed to be killed by Boko Haram last week after militants stormed the town of Baga, burning houses and opening fire on residents. Amnesty International called it Boko Haram's "deadliest massacre" yet.
Also on Wednesday, al Qaeda in Yemen released a video taking formal responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo and other attacks in France. "As for the blessed Battle of Paris, we...claim responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the Messenger of God," Al Qaeda representative Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi said in the video.
The Kouachi brothers reportedly visited Yemen in 2011, where they might have met and trained with al Qaeda operatives. According to Reuters, al-Ansi also gave credit to Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, preacher, and popular Internet propagandist who was killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen in 2011. At this time, U.S. officials don't know how al-Awlaki ties into the Paris assaults.