"Kill all the infidels and detonate bombs everywhere," Abubakar Shekau told followers in the video posted December 29, the Hindustan Times reports. "Yes! I want you to kill, slaughter and abduct."
Nigeria's military has claimed to have killed or fatally wounded Boko Haram's leader at least four times, AP reports. During the Sambisa Forest assault that supposedly put the terrorist group on the run, the army claimed to have seized Shekau's Koran.
The claims are generally followed by a mocking video by Shekau. In the latest, he restates Boko Haram's mission, "to establish an Islamic caliphate" in Nigeria.
Nigeria's Daily Post reported Dec. 31 that the country's Director of Defense Information, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, admitted that Shekau was alive, but said the video had been recorded before the forest raid.
"The insurgents are defeated and those arrested are giving us the vital information that will aid our mop-up operations in the area. We are going to convert the forest to a training camp soon. Shekau is a coward and we will trail him to anywhere he is hiding…. We are calling on the remnants of the Boko Haram sect to surrender for their safety before it is late. They should not allow Shekau to deceive them as his days are numbered. The public should disregard all the antics of the terrorists," he said.
Nigeria, whose population of 180 million is split between Christians and Muslims, has been fighting Boko Haram since 2009. The conflict has killed more than 20,000 and displaced more than 2 million. Earlier this year, the UN reported that 1 million children had been pulled from school because of the group and that the fighting had created a humanitarian disaster that rendered 7 million in need of assistance.
The Islamic State group, to which a faction of Boko Haram belongs, announced that they had "killed and wounded many" in an attack on an army barracks Dec. 22, the same day the Nigerian government said its army had uprooted the Boko Haram from its forest headquarters, AP reports. There are rumblings that the terrorists have been regrouping just south of their former stronghold.