A new video from Nigeria’s home-grown Boko Haram extremists shows gunmen mowing down civilians lying face down in a dormitory, and a leader saying they are being killed because they are ‘infidels’ or non-believers.
There are so many corpses the gunmen have difficulty stepping to reach bodies still twitching with life. Most appear to be adult men.
‘We have made sure the floor of this hall is turned red with blood, and this is how it is going to be in all future attacks and arrests of infidels,’ the group leader says in a message.
‘From now, killing, slaughtering, destruction and bombing will be our religious duty anywhere we invade.’
The video released to journalists late Saturday comes two days after fleeing villagers reported that the extremists are rounding up elderly people and killing them in two schools in Gwoza, in northeast Nigeria.
The setting of the latest video appears to be a school, a long dormitory furnished with bunk beds which the leader says is in Bama, a town 40 miles north of Gwoza.
Students and schools are frequently targeted by Boko Haram, which means ‘Western education is sinful’ in the Hausa language.
Previously, the militants had told residents of villages and towns that they would kill only enemies and wanted people to live peacefully in the area they have dubbed an Islamic caliphate – a large swathe along Nigeria’s northeastern border with Cameroon that they have controlled for more than three months.
In the video, the leader notes that the prophet Mohammed advised prisoners should be held, not killed, but says ‘we felt this is not the right time for us to keep prisoners; that is why we will continue to see that the grounds are crimsoned with the flowing blood of prisoners.’
He says some of those killed may call themselves Muslims, but are considered infidels by Boko Haram, a Sunni Jihadi group that imposes strict Shariah law.
The release of this latest video comes just days after Boko Haram was reported to have kidnapped 185 women and children, after slaughtering 32 people in an attack on Gumsuri, a remote village in northeast Nigeria.
Gumsuri is located on the road that leads to Chibok, where Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls from a school in April.
Thousands of people have been killed in the five-year Islamic uprising that has driven some 1.3 million people from their homes, with tens of thousands fleeing across borders into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Boko Haram has seized a string of towns and villages and in August declared an Islamic caliphate along Nigeria’s border with Cameroon.
In recent weeks, Special Forces have been deployed and have recaptured at least four towns with help from air raids, traditional hunters and vigilantes.
Attacks similar to Sunday’s violence in Gumsuri have escalated over the last 18 months, with the insurgents taking control of more than two dozen towns and villages in the region.
Kidnappings have also increased, part of a campaign by Boko Haram to boost its supply of child fighters, porters and young women who have reportedly been used as sex slaves.
The military has offered repeated assurances that the uprising will soon be contained, but so far there have been few signs of progress.
The effectiveness of the Nigerian military’s response has also been undermined by a number of videos released by the terror group in recent months that purport to show a Boko Haram leader who the military claimed was killed last year.
In one of them, released last November, a man claiming to be Shekau, said that over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram had been married off to militants.