Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau yesterday dismissed Nigerian military claims of his death in a new video obtained by AFP on Thursday and said the militants had implemented strict Islamic law in captured towns.
The new 36-minute video showed 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.
Standing in front of three camouflaged vans and flanked by four heavily armed, masked fighters, he then speaks for 16 minutes in Arabic and the Hausa language widely spoken in northern Nigeria.
There was no indication of where or when the video was shot.
“Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath,” Shekau said in the new video, adding that his group was “running our… Islamic caliphate” and administering sharia punishments.
“Nothing will kill me until my days are over… I’m still alive. Some people asked you if Shekau has two souls. No, I have one soul, by Allah,” he said, apparently reading from a script.
“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
Nigeria’s military however maintained the claim that Shekau was dead and that a man who had been posing as the group’s leader in the videos had been shot dead after fighting with troops in the far northeast.