By Yemi Adebowale with agency report
The terrorist Boko Haram sect yesterday released a new video denying any suggestion that it might surrender, just over a week after shadowy leader Abubakar Shekau appeared in a rare message looking dejected and frail.
Shekau, unseen on camera for more than a year, released an unverified video late last month saying his time in charge of the Nigerian jihadist group may be coming to an end.
If the video indeed depicts Shekau, he appears thin and listless, delivering his message without his trademark fiery rhetoric.
It prompted speculation from the army that the Islamist group was on the verge of collapse in the face of a sustained military counter-insurgency.
However, in yesterday’s video, Boko Haram maintained it was a potent fighting force, with men holding AK-47s posing in front of Toyota Hilux pick-up trucks and a lorry mounted with a military cannon.
“You should know that there is no truce, there is no negotiations, there is no surrender,” an unidentified masked man in camouflage said in a prepared script in Hausa, the dominant language in the north, in the video posted on YouTube.
“This war between us will not stop,” the masked man said.
The video, of markedly better quality than Shekau’s and including Arabic subtitles, featured nine masked Boko Haram fighters standing on sandy ground in an undisclosed desert location.
It is unclear if the masked people in the video released yesterday include the Boko Haram leader, reports the AFP.
Shekau was still the head of the “West African wing”, said the masked speaker, likening Boko Haram to the Islamist terrorists in Iraq, Libya and Syria.
In March 2015, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, another deadly terror organisation.
But there were few signs that Boko Haram – now styled as Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) – has drawn benefits from the partnership.
Since then, Nigeria’s army has won back swathes of territory from the militants, liberating thousands of people who had been living under Boko Haram’s control.
The video appears to confirm collaboration between Boko Haram and the Islamic State group, Africa security specialist, Ryan Cummings told AFP.
“The production quality bears the hallmarks of the Islamic State’s media wing,” Cummings said, explaining that it is expected that Shekau shun the limelight.
“A hallmark of the group and its affiliates is that you very seldom see leaders,” Cummings said. Boko Haram Releases New Video, Denies Surrendering