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Boko Haram Leader, Shekau Denies Rumours of Surrender, Hints at Dialogue Option

Abubakar Shekau, The leader of Jama’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, also known as Boko Haram, has dismissed suggestions that his group was face-to-face with imminent defeat and considering to surrender to either the Chadian or Nigerian military forces.

He has also dismissed reports at the frontlines that his fighters were weary and on edge at their longstanding operational fortress in Sambisa Forest.

The expansive forest borders Nigeria and Cameroon and has served as his group’s base since 2013.

Shekau said in an eight-minute 22 seconds audio released on Thursday, “nothing has happened to us, we are in good health.

“That you (military) have entered Sambisa and bombarded our brothers are lies. You (government) are lying to your people because you want to please them.”

The embattled insurgency leader said that the government was trying to lure members of his group to go to Chad or Nigeria to surrender. “This is a lie, it also means that you don’t understand us.”

Shekau said if there would be dialogue, it must be that Muslims must be in a position of strength and their opponents must be ready to adjust and accept whatever the terms were for them.

“And these terms are not for infidels like you. Democracy is the laws of the people, and ours is the command of Allah,” Shekau said.

“Muslims do not dialogue with infidels until the infidels are ready to bend and if in your interpretation, you think you have defeated us, to the extent that we will bend, know that between east and west, there is a long-distance,” he added.

“Idris Derby, you are lying, nothing has happened to us, your evil will end on yourself,” Shekau said in response to the recent Chadian offensive against his group.

The Boko Haram leader also derided social distancing measures against COVID-19, saying members of his group were observing congregational prayers and engaged in trading in their hideouts.

The audio was dominated by a song rendered in Hausa, urging fighters of the group to be patient and resilient in the face of trials.

Observers of the insurgency in the region said the trials were indications that the ongoing military campaign by the Nigerian Armed Forces was putting the group on edge.

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