Boko Haram’s Shekau Reappears After Health Questions

Boko Haram’s factional leader Abubakar Shekau has re-emerged in a new video after a long absence that fuelled speculation about his health and ability to lead the Islamist militants.

In a 36-minute message, seen by AFP on Tuesday, Shekau wore a white robe and skull cap and held an assault rifle as he sat in front of a military camouflage canvas.

He appeared unwell but made no direct mention of his health or reports from last month that he had high blood pressure, failing eyesight and diabetes-related complications.

Shekau used to appear frequently on camera but was last seen in a 14-minute video message on February 6, in which he claimed responsibility for attacks in the northeast region.

In May 2017, Shekau looked frail and appeared to have difficulty reading from a prepared speech, which he held close to his face in an apparent indication of vision problems.

Two well-placed sources told AFP last month that Shekau’s health was failing and he was “too weak to be in charge” of the jihadists.

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