*As Army dismisses new video as mere propaganda
Boko Haram’s elusive leader, Abubakar Shekau, appeared in a new video, yesterday, to dispute a claim that the jihadist group had been routed from its Sambisa forest stronghold.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army, yesterday, dismissed the new video, as a mere terrorists propaganda aimed at creating fear in the mind of people.
“We are safe. We have not been flushed out of anywhere. And tactics and strategies cannot reveal our location except if Allah wills by his decree,” Shekau said in the 25-minute video, flanked by masked armed fighters.
“You should not be telling lies to the people,” he said, referring to President Muhammadu Buhari, who said on Christmas eve that the extremist group had been defeated and driven from the forest, its last known bastion.
“If you indeed crushed us, how can you see me like this? How many times have you killed us in your bogus death?” he asked.
It was not immediately clear where the new video was shot, but Shekau, who spoke in both Hausa and Arabic, said it was filmed on Christmas day.
Shekau last appeared in a video in September, where he disputed a claim by the Nigerian military that he had been wounded in battle.
He vowed to continue fighting on until an Islamic state was imposed in northern Nigeria.
“The war is not over yet. There is still more,” he said, vowing no “respite” for Nigerians.
He urged followers around the world to “fight and kill infidels.”
“Our aim is to establish an Islamic caliphate and we have our own caliphate, we are not part of Nigeria,” he said.
Boko Haram, which last year pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, has been in the grip of a power struggle.
The IS high command said in August that Shekau had been replaced as leader by Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the 22-year-old son of Boko Haram’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf.
The fresh video came after Buhari announced that a month-long military campaign in the 1,300 square-kilometre forest in north eastern Borno State had led to the “final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa forest.”
The government in Abuja and the military have frequently claimed victories against the jihadists but access to the epicentre of the conflict is strictly controlled, making independent verification virtually impossible.
Attacks have, meanwhile, continued, casting doubt over claims that Boko Haram has been defeated, despite undoubted progress in pushing back the group.
Army dismisses Shakau’s new video as mere propaganda
Acting Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, in a statement, reacting to the new video said: “Our attention has been drawn to a video clip released by Boko Haram terrorist group from an undisclosed location a while ago, showing its purported leader, making spurious claims.
“While effort is on going to subject the video for further forensic analysis, the Nigerian Army wishes to reiterate that it has captured and occupied the last known stronghold of the terrorists group in the Sambisa forest.
“We would like to reassure the public that this video is nothing but mere terrorists propaganda aimed at creating fear in the mind of people and to remain relevant. Therefore, there is no cause for alarm, more so as concerted effort in clearing the vestiges of Boko Haram terrorists wherever they might be hiding is still ongoing.
“Our gallant troops deployed in various parts of the North East have continued to intensify search for all persons associated with Boko Haram terrorist group with a view to bring them to justice.
“Consequently, the people are hereby enjoined to go about their normal lawful business, remain vigilant and security conscious. They should also report any suspicious person or group of persons to security agencies.”