Controversy trails new video claiming Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, is alive

The military insists the real Shekau was killed long ago

A few hours after the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, claimed in a new video, that he was “alive and well,” the Nigerian military authorities have debunked the claim, insisting that he had been killed.

Mr. Shekau in the new video, obtained by the AFP news agency, debunked the September 24 claim by the military that he had been killed, describing it as “propaganda.”

In that statement, the military spokesperson, Chris Olukolade, had said the sect leader was killed during a recent fight with the military in Konduga .

In the new clip, Mr. Shekau said, “Here I am alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath,’ he said in the 36-minute video. He added that the sect was running our…Islamic caliphate” and administering sharia punishment.

He added, “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. It is propaganda that is prevalent. I have one soul. I’m an Islamic student.”

Mr. Shekau also claimed in the video that the air force jet that was declared missing three weeks ago was shot down by his men.

The sect leader who spoke for 16 minutes in Arabic and Hausa did not indicate where or when the video was shot.

Mr. Shekau, the BBC reported, appeared in the video dressed in combat fatigues and black rubber boots, standing on the back of a pick-up van and firing an anti-aircraft gun into the air.

It also reported that he was flanked by four heavily armed masked fighters.

But in a statement posted on its blog on Thursday, the military insisted that Bashir Mohammed alias Abubakar Shekau was actually eliminated as corroborated by still photographs, video evidence and surrendering and captured terrorists.

Titled, “The Purported Shekau Video in Circulation,” the statement said, “The Defence Headquarters is studying the claims made in the video purportedly released by the terrorists showing their leader Abubakar Shekau as dismissing his death.

“From immediate observation and what some online news outlets claimed to have seen, the video did not indicate when it was shot neither did it show any proof of life or currency such as screen time or date. The video also did not make any reference to anything that has happened since the impostor’s reported death.

“It is also noteworthy that the air plane said to be mentioned in the video had been missing before he was killed. It should not surprise anybody if the terrorists decide to manipulate pictures, clone another Shekau or upload a pre-recorded video all in a bid to prove invincible.

“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 military also said it was still conducting a thorough investigation into the new claims in the purported video just as it promised that justice would be served to whoever bears that name or designation and whoever engages in act.

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