Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in a new video is vowing to continue his insurgency until he establishes an Islamic caliphate across West and Central Africa.
In the 27-minute video seen by The Associated Press, Shekau says his fighters will continue to attack Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri with suicide bombers until the country accepts the ways of Islam and jettisons constitutional rule.
Shekau also denies neighboring Cameroon’s claims earlier this month that 60 of his men were killed and 5,000 people were rescued from captivity.
A multinational force has been fighting Nigeria’s homegrown Boko Haram extremists in the Lake Chad region amid one of Africa’s largest humanitarian crises.
Nigeria’s military has claimed on a number of occasions to have killed Shekau.
Shekau is believed to be born between 1965 and 1975.
He is a Kanuri man who declared loyalty to the Islamist militant group Islamic State of Iraq Syria (ISIS).
He served as deputy leader to the group’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf, until Yusuf was executed in 2009.
Nigerian authorities believed that Shekau was killed in 2009 during clashes between security forces and Boko Haram until July 2010, when Shekau appeared in a video claiming leadership of the group.
He has subsequently been reported dead with regularity, and is thought to use body doubles.
In March 2015, Shekau pledged allegiance to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Shekau is a Salafi.
He has been described as possessing a photographic memory.
He speaks Hausa, Fulani, Arabic, and English and claims to be an intellectual and theologian who studied Islam “under a traditional cleric”.