World Bulletin / News Desk
In a new message, Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau has refuted claims that his group had opened talks with the Nigerian government for the release of scores of abducted schoolgirls in exchange for detained group members.
In the 25-minute audio message, Shekau – who in February pledged allegiance to Abubakar al-Baghdadi, the head of the ISIL militant group – says he is “alive and still in charge” of what he describes as “the ISIL West Africa Province,” going on to urge his followers to remain steadfast, “as we are fighting for Allah”.
“They [i.e., the Nigerian government] are lying. They say… they have killed us; that they are through with Boko Haram,” he adds.
“It seems you [the government] are yet to exhaust the money Obama gave you... Your relations with foreign powers cannot avail you,” Shekau says in the video, which is entitled, “Message to transgressors, disbelievers and polytheists”.
He goes on to mock the Nigerian government and its allies for their repeated claims that he had been killed.
“This liar of yours, [President Muhammadu] Buhari, has deceived you,” he says. “He has lied to you – him and his soldiers.”
Shekau’s message emerged shortly after claims by Nigerian army spokesmen that Boko Haram militants were “surrendering in droves”.
In a Saturday statement, military spokesman Sani Usman said the army had destroyed numerous Boko Haram camps and rescued at least 139 hostages from the militant group.
“The fight against the terrorists in the northeast is gaining momentum, with most of the camps falling to the might of the federal government,” the spokesman asserted.
He said troops had also captured several towns and villages, while destroying militant camps near Jerre and Dipchari.
“Advancing troops in the Bama axis have rescued another 62 people fleeing from Bitti and Pulka,” Usman added. “They are currently combing all known terrorist enclaves within the Bama, Banki and Pulka areas.”
The army spokesman’s assertions, however, have yet to be independently confirmed.Last Mod: 21 Eylül 2015, 16:06