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BBC is reporting that an audio message has emerged of Nigerian-based Islamist militant group Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau, in which he denies he has been replaced.
During the week, the Chadian President, Idris Deby had claimed that Shekau is no longer a leader of the terrorists group, naming another leader who plans to negotiate with the Nigerian government.
In the message, addressed to the leader of the Islamic State militant group to whom Boko Haram has pledged allegiance, Mr Shekau said he was still in command.
He had not featured in the group’s recent videos, prompting speculation he had been killed or incapacitated.
Last week the Chadian president said Mr Shekau had been replaced.
Mr Shekau described as “blatant lies” reports that he was no longer in charge.
“I am alive,” he said, adding: “I will only die when the time appointed by Allah comes.”
The eight-minute-long recording mocked a recent statement by the new Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that Boko Haram would be eliminated within three months.
Last month, Mr Buhari said he would be willing to negotiate with the Boko Haram leadership for the release of the Chibok girls – depending on the credibility of those saying they represented the group.