Boko Haram: I’m still alive – says Shekau

le-groupe-islamiste-boko-haram-avait-enleve-le-citoyen_2409610_800x400-702x336The leader of Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau has de­nied claims by the Chadian president, Idriss Deby that he had been killed or oust­ed as leader of the militant group in an audio record­ing released yesterday and attributed to him by secu­rity experts.

“I am still alive and I am not dead. And I will not die until my time appointed by Allah is up,” Abubakar Shekau said in an eight-minute Hausa language message released on social media, according to AFP.

London Telegraph quot­ed Shekau as saying in the video that Chadian presi­dent is a “hypocrite” and a “tyrant”. “It is indeed all over the global media of in­fidels that I am dead or that I am sick and incapacitated and have lost influence in the affairs of religion,” he said in the recording re­leased on social media.

“It should be understood that this is false. This is in­deed a lie. If it were true, my voice wouldn’t have been heard, now that I am speaking.”

Deby had on August 12, at a press conference to mark his country’s 55th independence anniversary, said Shekau was dead and a new leader Mahamat Daoud has been appointed.

“There is someone ap­parently called Mahamat Daoud who is said to have replaced Abubakar Shekau and wants to negotiate with the Nigerian government,” Deby said.

“Gratitude be to Allah and with his help, I have not disappeared. I am still alive and I am not dead. And I will not die until my time appointed by Allah is up,” Shekau said in the message.

The SITE Intelligence Group verified the authen­ticity of the message, and an AFP correspondent with extensive experience of reporting Boko Haram said it exactly resembled Shekau’s voice in previous recordings, London Tele­graph reported.

A Nigerian journalist who has been close to the sect also confirmed that it is Shekau who spoke in the audio message.

Ahmad Salkida made a confirmation on twit­ter saying Shekau is alive and still presiding over the affairs of the notorious group. He also dismissed Deby’s claims that a new leader has replaced Shek­au.

Salkida urged the Feder­al Government not to take Deby’s claims with seri­ousness as he accused the Chadian president of mis­leading former president, Goodluck Jonathan into entering a botched peace deal with the sect. “Idris Deby is wrong now as be­fore when he deceived for­mer president Jonathan in phantom negotiation.”

Shekau is alive and leads ISWAP or BH,” he wrote on Twitter. But Salkida had earlier predicted that Shek­au could be replaced as a result of the Islamic State deal. In recent times, Boko Haram has been releasing videos without Shekau’s appearance. This, of course is an unusual development. But Shekau has refuted the reports of his demise on three separate occa­sions that security forces claimed to have silenced him. In a video he released in October, Shekau taunted the military saying he has “one soul”.

“Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Al­lah takes my breath. I am running our… Islamic caliphate and administer­ing sharia punishments,” he had said. “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. I’m the Islamic student whose seminary you burnt… I’m not dead.” Shekau took control of the group after its founder, Muhammad Yusuf, died in police cus­tody in July 2009.

Meanwhile, Cameroon’s president has vowed to send 2,450 troops to join a regional army to fight Boko Haram, nearly tri­pling his initial pledge. President Paul Biya an­nounced the new troop total in a statement Friday night.

At a meeting in Cam­eroon in February, Nige­ria and the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger and Benin agreed to de­ploy around 8,700 troops against Boko Haram, which became an affiliate of the Islamic State group earlier this year.

Cameroon initially pledged to contribute 750 troops. Biya said Friday the increase followed rec­ommendations from a June summit meeting of regional leaders. Deploy­ment of the force has been delayed for lack of funds, but Chad President Id­riss Deby said earlier this week it would be deployed within days. The force is to be based in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena. Gen. Valere Nka, who was serving as military attaché to Camer­oon’s high commission in Abuja, has been appointed second-in-command of the force, Biya said. -The Sun


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