KANO, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria's military raided a bomb factory Wednesday where Islamic extremists were plotting attacks on the northern city of Kano as Muslims prepare to celebrate a major religious holiday next week, an army general said.
At the same time the leader of the Boko Haram terrorist network threatened more assaults "soon" using heavy weapons he said were seized in battles against the Nigerian military.
A video in which Abubakar Shekau delivers his message ends with a display of rocket-propelled grenades, anti-aircraft guns and piles of AK-47 rifles and ammunition. The Nigerian army does not use AK-47s.
Shekau warned Nigerians to "prepare for a big war" to overturn democracy and install an Islamic state in Nigeria — Africa's largest oil producer with more than 160 million people almost equally divided between Christians and Muslims.
"This war is not a Nigerian government war," he said in the local Hausa language. "It is a war to uplift Islam and get all non-Muslims to repent their ways and embrace Islam."
The video, like previous ones, was delivered to reporters in northeast Nigeria, the stronghold of Boko Haram. Shekau claimed responsibility for recent attacks, in which hundreds of people have been killed in a few months despite a military state of emergency since May. But he did not identify any particular attack. In one of the worst, attackers gunned down 43 students at an agricultural college last week.
On Wednesday, about 50 suspected Islamic militants attacked Itiku village in northeast Adamawa state and rampaged for an hour, leaving at least eight people dead, survivors said. "It was only after the attackers left that the military arrived," said villager Mallam Ahmad, interviewed in the state capital, Yola.
In Kano, Brig. General Ilyasu Abba told reporters one suspect was killed in two raids on the outskirts of Kano, but the others escaped.
Boko Haram is blamed for a July 29 attack in which multiple explosions hit a Christian entertainment area of mainly Muslim Kano. At least 27 people were killed.
Ilyasu said his troops recovered a primed suicide backpack, assault rifles and ammunition, bows and arrows and the makings of improvised explosive devices including detonators and remote control devices.
Associated Press writers Haruna Umar in Maiduguri, Nigeria and Ibrahim Abdul in Yola, Nigeria, contributed to this report.