Abubakar Shekau, the mysterious, apparently invincible head of Nigeria’s radical Islamist group, has come back from beyond the grave once more, appearing in a new video just a week after authorities said he was killed. In the new release, which shares brutal similarities with ISIS propaganda, a man identifying himself as Shekau appears to behead a Nigerian pilot.
“Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath,” said a fatigues-clad man purporting to be Shekau, adding that he is running the self-declared caliphate in northern Nigeria. “Nothing will kill me until my days are over … Some people asked you if Shekau has two souls. No, I have one soul, by Allah.” He also shows off weaponry used to shoot down aircrafts — proving for the first time that doing so is within Boko Haram’s capabilities.
These weapons may have been used to shoot down a Nigerian air force jet, missing since mid-September. The plane’s pilot is killed in the video by a fighter using an ax, while the clip also shows shots of what is said to be the plane’s wreckage. (Shekau himself doesn’t appear in the videos violent scenes, which also include a hand amputation for theft, stoning for adultery, and lashings as other punishments. The group has previously released violent footage, and these punishments appear to have been doled out in public.)
As in past videos, Shekau is boastful about having evaded death yet again. “Even if you kill me … it will not stop us imposing Islamic rule,” he says in Hausa. “We are still in our Islamic state, reigning and teaching the Koran.”t