By Johnson Eyiangho/Abuja
The Nigerian army has dismissed as ‘mere terrorists propaganda’, the new 25 minute Abubakar Shekau video in circulation.
A statement by Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman in Abuja on Thursday slammed Shekau for making spurious claims, from his undisclosed location.
“While effort is ongoing to subject the video for further forensic analysis, the Nigerian Army wishes to reiterate that it has captured and occupied the last known stronghold of the terrorists group in the Sambisa forest.
“We would like to reassure the public that this video is nothing but mere terrorists propaganda aimed at creating fear in the mind of people and to remain relevant.
“Therefore, there is no cause for alarm, more so as concerted effort in clearing the vestiges of Boko Haram terrorists wherever they might be hiding, is ongoing.
“Our gallant troops deployed in various parts of the North-East have continued to intensify search for all persons associated with Boko Haram terrorist group with a view to bringing them to justice”, Usman said.
He urged the public to go about their normal lawful business, remain vigilant and be security conscious, adding that any suspicious person or group of persons should be reported to the security agencies.
In the video, reported by Al Jazeera and AFP, the fugitive insurgent claimed he was safe and that his rag tag forces have not been crushed as the Nigerian military declared last week, after the capture of the terrorists base in Sambisa Forest.
“We have not been flushed out of anywhere. And tactics and strategies cannot reveal our location except if Allah wills by his decree,”the most wanted fugitive said.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, declared on Christmas Eve that Boko Haram had been effectively defeated.
“If you indeed crushed us, how can you see me like this? How many times have you killed us in your bogus death?,” Shekau said.
Shekau, who spoke in both Hausa and Arabic, said the video was filmed on Christmas Day, a day after the report of the commanders of Operation Lafiya Dole, that the insurgency had been contained.
Al Jazeera reported Shekau as vowing to continue fighting until an Islamic state was imposed in northern Nigeria.
“Our aim is to establish an Islamic Caliphate and we have our own Caliphate, we are not part of Nigeria,” he said.
After the liberation of Sambisa Forest and the capturing of Camp Zairo, said to have been the operational headquarters of the bloody insurgents, Nigeria’s military commanders expressed surprise that they did not see what they expected at the camp.
Some of their expectations include capturing the remaining of the seized Chibok schoolgirls and also arms and ammunitions kept there by the insurgents.
Except for Shekau’s Quran and flag recovered at the site, there was nothing else of significance that was recovered, leading to theories that the insurgents had escaped with some of the Chibok girls during the aerial bombardment by the Nigerian Air Force planes.
Nigeria’s military headquarters are yet to respond to the new Shekau video.
But Speaking to Al Jazeera on Tuesday, Brigadier-General Victor Ezugwu, a Nigerian army commander, said his soldiers had made significant gains against Boko Haram.
“We are on top of the situation, all hands are still on deck,” Ezugwu said.
“This defeat is final and it [Boko Haram] will not spread to other parts of West Africa.”