Militant group Boko Haram has said it has set up an Islamic state in the towns and villages it has seized in north-eastern Nigeria.
This revealed in a video by Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released to congratulate fighters for seizing Gwoza earlier this month.
Gwoza, which had 265,000 residents in the last census, is the biggest town under Boko Haram control. Thousands have fled the town and are now living in a school
Boko Haram has raised its flags over the palace of the Emir of Gwoza, the town’s traditional ruler, residents say.
“Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic state,” Mr Shekau said in the 52-minute video.
The Islamist militant group controls several areas, mostly in Borno state where the group was launched, but also in neighbouring Yobe state.
Nigeria’s military spokesman Chris Olukolade has dismissed the declaration, saying in a statement: “The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nigerian state is still intact.”