A video believed to have been released by the wanted leader of the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, surfaced in Maiduguri on Wednesday.
In it, a man claiming to be Shekau, debunked earlier claims by the Nigerian military that he died from gunshot wounds on August 19, 2013.
The then JTF spokesman in Borno State, Lt Col Sagir Musa, had in a statement said, “Intelligence report available to the JTF Operation Restore Order revealed that Shekau, the most dreaded and wanted terrorists’ leader may have died.
“He died of gunshots wounds received in an encounter with the JTF in one of their camps in Sambisa Forest on June 30 , 2013. Shekau was mortally wounded in the encounter and was sneaked into Amitchide-a border community in Cameroon for treatment from which he never recovered.”
But in the video, Shekau said the world “should know that he could not die except by the will of Allah.”
According to the British Broadcasting Corporation Hausa Service, the Boko Haram leader is seen in the video wearing a camouflage, seated and surrounded by dozens of hooded lieutenants.
Although no link was provided for readers to view the video, the BBC Hausa Service quoted one of its reporters, Aliyu Tanko, as saying the voice of the man in the video sounded like that of Shekau.
Tanko also claimed that the video emerged from a source previously used by the Boko Haram leader. Previous reports of Shekau’s death later proved to be unfounded.
Perhaps to prove that the video was recently recorded, Shekau claimed responsibility for the September 17, 2013 attack in Benisheik, Borno State, where about 142 people were either shot dead or slaughtered
An online news portal, Brimtime.com, however gave more details of what Shekau said in the latest video.
“Here I am, alive, hale and hearty, “ it quoted him as saying .
Shekau, according to the portal, said that President Goodluck Jonathan, United States President Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth, French President Francois Hollande and Sagir should hang their heads in shame for lying to the world that he had been killed.
The Boko Haram chief said, “ Sagir Musa should hang his head in shame, President Jonathan (of Nigeria) should hang his head in shame, President Obama should bury himself in shame, and President Francois Hollande shouldhang his head in shame, Queen Elizabeth (of England) should hang his head in shame.
“They said I am dead, but here I am. The world should know that I am alive and will only die at the appointed time. Everybody should be judged according to the dictates of his conscience.
“What I am doing is written in the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith and I will not stop. I challenge all the clerics of the world to question my deeds. Those underrating my capacity should have a rethink. I will never allow democracy to thrive.
“The concept of government of the people by the people for the people will never be possible and will never exist. Democracy shall be replaced only by the government of Allah, from Allah and for Allah.”
Insisting that the military will never subdue his group, he added, “Nigerian soldiers are late. After killing many of them in Monguno and Benisheik, we have snatched their armoured carriers and a Hilux van and then hoisted Islamic flags on them. We now move freely with them.”
Boko Haram, which claims to be fighting to create an Islamic state across Nigeria, has been blamed for many violent attacks which have killed nearly 2,000 people since 2011.
When one of our correspondents contacted the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, he said, “On the issue of that man being alive, we are investigating it and we shall get back to you; we are checking the veracity of the story.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has deployed more troops in Borno State following the increase in terrorist activities.
A security source said on Wednesday that trucks carrying many troops were sighted along the Damaturu-Maiduguri Road on their way to Maiduguri on Tuesday.
We had reported on Tuesday that the military had deployed fighter jets in Borno , Yobe and Adamawa states.
Nigerian troops are battling Boko Haram insurgents, Al-Qaeda from Algeria, Mauritania, Somalia and the Niger Republic.
Investigations on Wednesday revealed that the deployment of additional troops was due to the fresh attacks being launched by the insurgents against villages and Army positions in the North-East.
A military source said, “The fight is still on but the Army doesn’t want people to know what is happening there. Several truck loads of soldiers have been moved to Borno State since the deployment of the Air Force fighter jets on Monday.
“I think, the plan is to conclude this fight once and for all and they are really serious about it; it could be because of what happened at Kasiya forest where the Army lost some men, arms and ammunition.”