The embattled leader of jihadist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, resurfaced in a video posted online on Sunday, rejecting assertions by the Nigerian army that he had been seriously wounded.
The Nigerian military played down the video and added it had wiped out 22 Boko Haram fighters in a clash in the country’s north.
“You have been spreading in the social media that you injured or killed me,” Shekau said in the 40-minute video released on YouTube and dated September 25.
“Oh tyrants, I’m in a happy state, in good health and in safety.”
The Nigerian army said on August 23 the longtime militant chief had been seriously wounded in the shoulder in an air raid in which several commanders were killed.
Nigerian authorities have reported him dead several times before, but the army’s claim was bolstered when Boko Haram — which pledged allegiance last year to the Islamic State (IS) group — released a video on September 13 without Shekau in it.
However, in the video released Sunday, Shekau points to a date on an Islamic calendar corresponding to September 25, 2016.
Speaking in Hausa, Arabic and English and in dialects spoken in northeast Nigeria he appeared to be in good physical health.
He used the video to issue threats against President Muhammadu Buhari, who appealed to the United Nations this week for help in negotiating the release of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by the militants more than two years ago.
“If you want your girls, bring back our brethren,” Shekau says.