Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, has dismissed as unfounded rumours the news that he was making moves to surrender to Nigerian or Chadian authorities, according to an audio released Thursday and published by HumAngle online newspaper.
The insurgency leader also denied his men were in disarray as suggested by earlier reports.
A report by Vanguard Newspaper early April claimed the Islamist terrorist group may have indicated interest in negotiating a ceasefire, in preparation for a surrender, with the Nigerian government.
Shekau in a eight-minute 22 seconds long audio denies considering a ceasefire with the Nigerian government.
The audio allegedly has Shekau’s voice talking in Hausa with an accompanied background Islamic music.
In the audio, Shekau can be heard saying:
“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.