NIGERIA-UNREST-SHEKAU-FILES

Abubakar Shekau, the mystical leader of Islamist insurgent group, Boko Haram has denied the speculations that he has either been killed or dethroned as leader of the group.

Shekau in an eight-minute Hausa-language audio recording released Sunday attributed to him by security experts, rebuffed claims by Chadian President,  Idriss Deby that he had been replaced and called the president 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. 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,” Shekau purportedly said in the recording released on social media.

President Deby had declared on August 12 that efforts to combat neighbouring Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadists had succeeded in “decapitating” the group and would be wrapped up “by the end of the year”. Deby told reporters in the capital N’Djamena that Boko Haram was no longer led by the fearsome Shekau and that his successor, whom he named as Mahamat Daoud, was open to talks.

“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 fired back 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.

By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)

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