Boko Haram on Thursday explained that its grouse with ThisDay over alleged misrepresentation of its position and perceived bias led to the bomb attacks on its offices in Abuja and Kaduna.
Suspected Boko Haram members bombedThisDay’s Abuja office as well as a complex housing ThisDay, Sun and Momentnewspapers in Kaduna, leaving a number of people dead and many more injured.
The sect also known as Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad said in an interview with a blog, premiumtimesng.com, that it was targeting Nigerian and foreign journalists.
The interview appeared to confirm suspicions that the Kaduna attack might have been actually targeted atThisDay.
In the interview by a member who claimed to be Abul Qaqa, Boko Haram said the attacks were meant to send a strong message to the media that it had become fed up with alleged misrepresentations of its position by journalists.
It also said it would no longer take blame for actions not committed by its members.
“We have repeatedly cautioned reporters and media houses to be professional and objective in their reports. This is a war between us and the government of Nigeria; unfortunately the media have not been objective and fair in their reports of the ongoing war; they chose to take side,” Qaqa said.
He identified three instances where he claimed his group was deliberately misrepresented by the media. The first, according to him, was the rumour of his capture by the Nigerian intelligence agencies.
“Some reporters are aware that I am Abul Qaqa. They know my voice through our long interactions and they also know the role of Abu Darda who heads the enlightenment committee and sometimes facilitates interviews; yet they (media) go by the unsubstantiated view of government that Abul Qaqa is in custody and I am the new spokesman or number two.
“Another issue was the recent kidnappings in the North; we were clear with our position as a group during a teleconference with reporters but we were shocked the next day when newspaper headlines added a lot of things which I never said during that interview.”
“Another example is the recent video posted on YouTube by our Imam. I challenge every Nigerian to watch that video again. There is no place our imam either said he will crush President Jonathan or issued an ultimatum to the government in Nigeria; but nearly all papers carried very wrong and mischievous headlines.”
When asked why ThisDay appeared specifically chosen for the attack, Qaqa replied, “It is not only ThisDaythat has been engaged in negative media campaign, fictional stories and constantly promoting fake stories by the JTF to give an impression that they are making headway against us; yet there is no time the media investigated further as an objective and responsible bystander in this war. But the sins of ThisDay are more.
“They once insulted the Prophet Mohammed in 2001 and we have not forgotten. They recently said our Imam executed me which is false. Here I am speaking to you, I am alive and healthy.”
According to the blog, the purported Boko Haram spokesman threatened that the group would launch more attacks against the media.