Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau rejected Nigeria’s claim that he was killed last week in a clash with military forces in a new propaganda video released Thursday, a report said. Nigerian security forces have now claimed to have killed Shekau on at least three separate occasions.
“Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath,” Shekau said in the video, obtained by Agence France-Presse. “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.”
Boko Haram has enacted Shariah in captured Nigerian towns, Shekau added. The video contained graphic footage of an amputation, a stoning and a beheading. The bearded man claiming to be Shekau resembles the same man from previous propaganda videos.
“We are running our caliphate, our Islamic caliphate,” Shekau said. “We follow the Koran.... We now practice the injunctions of the Koran in the land of Allah.”
The Nigerian military claimed on Sept. 24 that Shekau was already dead and that Mohammed Bashir, a man posing as Shekau, was killed during clashes with government forces near the Cameroon border, Reuters reported. In the wake of his death, more than 130 Boko Haram militants surrendered to the military, officials said.
However, the U.S. government and top analysts questioned the veracity of the Nigerian government’s claim that Shekau was dead. Some officials believe that leaders of various sections of Boko Haram may adopt the “Abubakar Shekau” moniker.
Boko Haram has killed thousands over five years of attacks on military bases and civilian hubs. The group galvanized the international community in May, when Shekau claimed responsibility for the abduction of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls, most of whom remain missing.