Nigeria military rejects Boko Haram 'caliphate' claim

A screengrab taken on August 24, 2014 from a video released by the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram shows the group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, delivering a speech at an undisclosed location (AFP Photo/)

Abuja (AFP) - Nigeria's military on Sunday rejected a claim by Boko Haram's leader that a northeast town seized by the insurgents earlier this month has been placed under an Islamic caliphate.

"That claim is empty," defence spokesman Chris Olukolade said in reference to Abubakar Shekau's boastings about the town of Gwoza in Borno state.

"The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nigerian state is still intact," and operations "to secure that area from the activities of the bandits is still ongoing," he added.