‘Dead’ Boko Haram Leader Appears In New Video

Purported leader of the Boko Haram insurgent group, Abubakar Shekau, has refuted the claims of his death by the Nigerian military in a new video obtained by AFP today, adding that the militants have implemented Sharia in captured towns.

“Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath,” we are running our Islamic caliphate and administering strict sharia punishments.”, he said. The new 36-minute video shows Shekau, in combat fatigues and black rubber boots, standing on the back of a pick-up truck and firing an anti-aircraft gun into the air. He is flanked by four heavily armed, masked fighters, and speaks for 16 minutes in Arabic and the Hausa language.  There was however no indication of where or when the video was shot. The sect leader said the military are simply implementing a propaganda programme.

“It is propaganda that is prevalent. I have one soul. I’m an Islamic student. “I’m the Islamic student whose seminary you burnt… I’m not dead,” he added, apparently referring to the destruction of the group’s mosque in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, in 2009.The Nigerian military has however dismissed the new video, insisting that it actually killed Shekau during a battle in Konduga on September 17.

A statement released by the defence headquarters reads: “As far as we are concerned, the individual who was appearing in video and claiming to be the leader of the terrorist group was killed in the Kondunga battle in September.The resemblance of the corpse and that of the eccentric character was incontrovertible. His identity was equally corroborated by people who knew him before we announced his death.” The army authority also says it is still studying the video.

Nigeria’s military had last week claimed to have killed Shekau and that a man who had been posing as the group’s leader in the videos had been killed after fighting with troops in the far northeast., but security analysts and United States have questioned the credibility of the claim.

There have been two previous claims by Nigeria’s security forces that Shekau was dead once in 2009 during unrest in Maiduguri, and again in 2013. Boko Haram has issued denials in video messages few days after each claim.

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