The figures being bandied by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL) concerning the number of attacks carried out by its affiliate in West Africa, Nigeria-based Islamist terror group, Boko Haram, and the number of people killed by the terrorists in Nigeria in the last two months, has been described as a “hoax” by the Federal Government.
It would be recalled that in March of 2015, an unverified audio statement purportedly made by Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau and posted on the sect’s Twitter account, pledged allegiance to ISIS, which has seized control of large swathes of territory in eastern Syria and across northern and western Iraq since last year.
ISIS had recently claimed its West African affiliate had carried out over a hundred attacks in two months.
But these “imaginary figures” the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said, were part of the strategy by ISIS to shore up the morale of its dispersed and defeated fellow-terrorists in Nigeria.
”Apart from these fake figures, we are aware of the planned release of old videos of Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria through the terrorists’ preferred channel to give the impression that they have continued to carry out spectacular attacks. Those videos are neither recent nor genuine”, the Minister said in a statement issued on Monday.
According to the statement, the ISIS/Boko Haram propaganda machine was brought to life to deliberately coincide with the December 31st deadline issued to the Nigerian military by President Muhammadu Buhari to crush the terrorists.
It further stated that the latest propaganda from ISIS was also aimed at distracting the military and striking at its all-time high morale.
”But the truth of the matter is that the capability of the military has improved drastically, and there is a higher level of awareness among Nigerians concerning the war against terrorism, which has led them (Nigerians) to increase their support for the troops on the frontline and also to own the war.
”Therefore, the figures being pushed out by ISIS on behalf of Boko Haram represent nothing but a figment of the terrorists’ imagination”, Mr. Mohammed said.
The Minister recalled his visit last month to the battle front in Bama, Borno State, where he said the sect one ran what he labeled its “phony caliphate” and the reality on ground was that gallant Nigerian troops were in full control of the area.
”We, therefore, wonder where the terrorists have been carrying out their so-called spectacular attacks, as indicated by ISIS, when indeed the capability of the shameless cowards has been so degraded that all they can do now is to target innocent women and children, using equally innocent children and women as their bomb carriers”, he said.
The Minister said the decimated Boko Haram terrorists are so hungry, so broke, so sick and so desperate that all they can now do is to clutch at straws, therefore, Nigerians should ignore their meaningless propaganda.
“In the days ahead, there will be more of such Boko Haram propaganda, targeted at weakening the resolve of our brave troops, instilling fears into the minds of Nigerians and also seeking to impress their fellow terrorists in ISIS. Nigerians should see the propaganda for what it is: a hoax!” the statement added.