Boko Haram faction chief reappears after health questions

2018-07-24 15:51
Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau. (File, AP)

Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Boko Haram factional leader Abubakar Shekau has re-emerged in a new video after a long absence that fuelled speculation about his health and ability to lead the Islamist militants.

In a 36-minute message, seen by AFP on Tuesday, Shekau wore a white robe and skull cap, and held an assault rifle as he sat in front of a military camouflage canvas.

He appeared unwell but made no direct mention of his health or reports from last month that he had high blood pressure, failing eyesight and diabetes-related complications.

The jihadist leader used to appear frequently on camera but was last seen in a 14-minute video message on February 6, in which he claimed responsibility for attacks in northeast Nigeria.

He is widely believed to be aged in his late 40s. The US justice department lists 1965, 1969 and 1975 as possible years of his birth.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER 

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

He said the latest message was recorded on July 12 at the request of his supporters "as a kind of Eid greetings... to show that their brethren are well, in view of all sorts of things infidels are saying (about us) which we have ignored".

The end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan was celebrated in Nigeria on June 15. It was not possible to obtain independent verification of the claimed date, and there was no explanation about the apparent delay in recording or publishing the message.

In May 2017, Shekau looked frail and appeared to have difficulty reading from a prepared speech, which he held close to his face in an apparent indication of vision problems.

Two well-placed sources told AFP last month that Shekau's health was failing and he was "too weak to be in charge" of the jihadists.

His lieutenants were said to be in talks about the situation.

Boko Haram, whose insurgency has left at least 20 000 dead since 2009, split in mid-2016 over ideological differences about the targeting of civilians in the conflict.

One faction, headed by Abu-Mus'ab Al-Barnawi, whose father Mohammed Yusuf founded Boko Haram, won the support of the Islamic State group.

The Barnawi faction has been blamed for a spate of attacks in recent days against the military northeast Nigeria.

Eight people were killed in a suicide bombing at a mosque in Borno state on Monday, in an attack that bore the hallmarks of the Shekau faction.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  abubakar shekau  |  nigeria  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

5 scientific benefits of owning a cat

According to science, just the act of watching cats itself can bring about positive emotions – so it comes as no surprise then, that owning a cat has a number of benefits.

 

Paws

Why we love cats
8 great natural remedies for your pet
How to clean your dog’s eyes
This special pooch inspired his brother to learn to stand again
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.