The terrorist group, Boko Haram, issued a new video yesterday dismissing any suggestion it would surrender.
This came just over a week after the sect’s shadowy leader Abubakar Shekau appeared in a rare message looking dejected and frail.
Shekau, who was not seen on camera for more than a year, released an unverified video late last month and said his time in charge of the group might be coming to an end.
If the video indeed depicts Shekau, he appears thin and listless, delivering his message without his trademark fiery rhetoric, prompting speculation from the army that the sect was on the verge of collapse in the face of a sustained military counter-insurgency.
However, in the latest message, Boko Haram maintained it was a potent fighting force, with insurgents posing with AK-47s in front of Toyota Hilux pick-up trucks and a lorry mounted with a military cannon.
“This war between us will not stop.”
The video, which was of markedly of better quality than Shekau’s and included Arabic subtitles, featured nine masked Boko Haram fighters standing on sandy ground in an undisclosed desert location.
Shekau did not appear in the video but the masked man in the video said he (Shekau) remains the sect’s leader.
He likened Boko Haram to the Islamist insurgencies in Iraq, Libya and Syria.
In March 2015, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.
But there were few signs Boko Haram — now styled as Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) — has so far benefited from the partnership.
The army has since then recovered swathes of territory from the terrorists, liberating thousands living under Boko Haram control.
An estimated 20,000 people have been killed since Boko Haram began its campaign of violence in 2009 in the Northeast.