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Shekau insists he is still the leader of Boko Haram


Abubakar Shekau, the reportedly deposed leader of Boko Haram, insists he is still in charge of Nigeria’s militant Islamist group.

The tough talking Shekau in a 10-minute audio message released on Thursday denounced the declaration of Abu Musab al-Barnawi as new leader of the group.

On Wednesday, a statement by Islamic State, a group Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to, named the group’s former spokesman (al-Barnawi) as successor to Shekau.

He (Shekau) described al-Barnawi as an infidel who wanted to stage a coup against him. “People should know we are still around,” Shekau said.

His last public appearance was in a video where he announced ‘his end.’ “For me, the end has come, May Allah protect us from evil… I thank my creator,” Shekau said slowly in Hausa and Arabic, in a video posted on Youtube early this year.

Shekau took over leadership of the group after the death of its leader Mohammed Yusuf in 2009. Under his reign, Boko Haram carried out attacks in several states in the North East, killing thousands and displacing millions of Nigerians.

The group also engaged in several abductions throughout the region including that of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls. The group also claimed responsibility for attacks on the United Nations Office in the administrative capital, Abuja in 2011.

Their activities also extended beyond Nigeria to neighbouring countries in the Lake Chad region. Niger, Cameroon’s far north region and Chad have all suffered the effects of the insurgency.

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