The ‘deadly’ Boko Haram Islamist group leader Abubakar Shekau appeared on video for the first time in more than a year on Thursday, rejecting rumours about his death but appearing to signal his time in charge of the Nigerian jihadist group may be coming to an end.
In a message that contained none of the defiant bluster, taunts and denunciation of political leaders of previous videos and will likely be interpreted as an admission of defeat, the dejected-looking Shekau declared in the Hausa language: “For me the end has come”.
“This is a message of greeting and joy for you to see my face,” said Shekau, who in March 2015 had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in an audio message.
“This is my desire: that whoever sees this will hear nothing but greetings between me and you. Only Allah knows the rest, as you believed (and) as you submitted. For me the end has come.
“This is only the message I want to send to you for you to understand that this is certainly I. This is why I did this.
“May Allah protect us so that no hypocrite stands between us. May Allah protect us from the devil so that he doesn’t achieve his evil among us.
A military source in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, in northeast Nigeria, told AFP: “Watching Shekau in this video, the message is clear: the game is over.
“For this arrogant and boastful terrorist to speak in such a meek and subdued tone shows he has been trounced beyond his imagination.
“It is a farewell video.” (AFP)