The militant group Boko Haram has conveyed its support for the shooters in last week’s attack against French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that left 17 people dead. In a video posted to YouTube Wednesday, Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau said the Islamist group that has terrorized northern Nigeria was “very happy with what happened at the heart of France.”
Shekau appeared in the video holding an AK-47 and addressed the camera in Arabic. “Oh you French people, oh you who follow the religion of democracy, between you and us is enmity to eternity,” he said, according to Bloomberg.
Boko Haram formed in Nigeria in 2002, three years after Nigeria became democratic. The group’s aim was to form an Islamic state in Nigeria and it quickly began recruiting poor Muslims from Nigeria and neighboring countries for jihadi. The northeast region of Nigeria where Boko Haram operates is among the least educated regions in the country, CNN reported. On several occasions, the Nigerian military has claimed to have killed Shekau, but the leader has continued to appear in propaganda videos.
Recently, Boko Haram invaded Baga, a town in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, killing an estimated 2,000 people. Authorities have been unable to retrieve the bodies for fear that the militants are still active in the area. Nigerian leaders worry that Boko Haram’s recent spate of violence could stifle national elections in February.
Two masked shooters stormed the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo last week, killing several members of the magazine’s staff, including its editor Stéphane Charbonnier. The gunmen, French brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, reportedly had ties to al Qaeda in Yemen, and on Wednesday, that group’s leader, Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, claimed to have ordered the attack in a YouTube video. "As for the blessed Battle of Paris, we ... claim responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the Messenger of God," al-Ansi said, according to Reuters. It was the first time a group had officially pledged responsibility for the shooting.