Nigeria Probes Video Showing Boko Haram Leader Shekau Is Alive

Nigeria’s army said it is investigating the authenticity of a video in which Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Boko Haram Islamists, is shown dismissing military claims he may have died.

“It’s going to be subject to analysis,” Ibrahim Attahiru, the Nigerian army spokesman in Abuja, the capital, said by phone today. “I won’t tell you further what we’re going to do about it until we authenticate and confirm” if the video is genuine.

The military task force fighting the militants in the country’s northeast said on Aug. 19 that Shekau may have died from injuries sustained in a June 30 clash, without providing proof.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is a sin” in the Hausa language, has carried out gun and bomb attacks across Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north and the capital, Abuja, killing thousands of people since 2009. Nigeria’s more than 160 million people are almost evenly split between Christians, predominant in the south, and Muslims.

“It was said that I was killed, but here I am,” Shekau said in the video sent to reporters in the northeastern city of Maiduguri yesterday. “I am talking and laughing at the Nigerian authorities who misled the world that I am dead.”

In the video, an armed Shekau in military fatigues is sitting on the floor surrounded by masked gunmen. He claimed responsibility for attacks last week, including one in the northeastern town of Benisheik, which the authorities said left at least 142 people dead.

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