Boko Haram leader resurfaces, demands hostage swap for Chibok girls

KANO, Nigeria, Sept. 25 (UPI) — The leader of the militant group Boko Haram reportedly resurfaced in a video posted online Sunday, refuting reports he died in an airstrike and saying the group will release the missing Chibok girls if the Nigerian government agrees to a prisoner swap.

“You have been spreading in the social media that you injured or killed me,” the man who identified himself as Abubakar Shekau said in the 40-minute video released on YouTube dated Sep. 25. “Oh tyrants, I’m in a happy state, in good health and in safety.”

The video with Shekau was the first since the Nigerian army announced that Shekau, along with other members of the Boko Haram, was “fatally wounded” in an airstrike on Aug. 23. Earlier this month, Boko Haram released a video without Shekau in it.

It is not clear when it was recorded and because the footage is grainy, it can’t be confirmed it is Shekau. The military has not commented on the video.

The man spoke in Arabic and then Hausa.

“I will not get killed until my time comes,” the man said, adding the video was intended for “tyrants of Nigeria in particular and the west of Africa in general.”

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed a willingness to release imprisoned Boko Haram members for the remaining 218 Chibok girls, who were abducted in 2014 after a raid of their school dormitories while they were sleeping.

At the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, Buhari said they will only negotiate with credible leaders of the terrorist group.

The Islamic State group — to which Boko Haram has pledged allegiance — earlier this month announced that Shekau was being replaced as leader, raising more questions about the authenticity of the video.



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