The purported leader of Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau appeared in a video posted on social media on Sunday in which he rejected statements by the country’s military that he had been seriously wounded.
Last month, Nigeria’s air force said it had killed senior members of the group. It said Shekau had been wounded.
The Nigerian military has said it has killed or critically wounded Shekau multiple times in recent years, often right before someone who says they are him shoots a video denying it.
While they all sport Shekau’s distinctive beard, the grainy quality of the footage means it is not always possible to confirm if the person is the same as in the previous videos.
“You broadcast the news and published it in your media outlets that you injured me and killed me and here I am,” said a man purporting to be Shekau in a video addressed to “tyrants of Nigeria in particular and the west of Africa in general”.
“I will not get killed until my time comes,” he added, in the 40-minute video posted on YouTube delivered in Arabic and Hausa which is spoken widely in northern Nigeria.
Last month’s announcement by the air force came days after Islamic State, to whom Boko Haram pledged allegiance last year, announced the appointment of a new leader of the West African group in an apparent rejection of Shekau.
That appointment was later dismissed in a 10-minute audio clip on social media by a man purporting to be Shekau, exposing divisions within the jihadist group that has plagued Nigeria and neighbours Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
Boko Haram has killed around 15,000 people and displaced more than two million in a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating a state adhering to strict Islamic laws. It controlled a swathe of land in northeast Nigeria around the size of Belgium at the end of 2014 but was pushed out by Nigerian troops, aided by soldiers from neighbouring countries, early last year.
In a sign the group remains capable of inflicting damage despite that, suspected militants killed four Chadian troops and wounded six overnight in an attack near the town of Kaiga, two security sources told Reuters in Chad.
They added seven of the Islamist militants had been killed in return fire.