The leader of Boko Haram has mocked claims he was seriously injured by the Nigerian military and warned “you have not seen the worst yet”.
In a video posted on social media, Abubakar Shekau dismissed claims by the Nigerian air force that he had been seriously wounded in a raid, telling them: “I will not get killed until my time comes”.
The leader of the Islamist militant group also taunted parents of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls, telling them their children would only be released if the government swaps them for detained Islamic extremist leaders.
Some 218 of the 276 schoolgirls abducted in April 2014 remain missing.
Shekau said: “You broadcast the news and published it in your media outlets that you injured me and killed me and here I am.
“Oh tyrants, I’m in a happy state, in good health and in safety.”
He added: “If you want your girls, bring back our brethren.”
In a statement, army spokesman Sani Usman said the footage was “unstable” and came as “another sign that the end is near for him”.
He said: “Boko Haram terrorism as it was known, is gone for good.
“We are just counting down to the day when all the few remnants will be totally wiped out or brought to justice.”
The air force’s announcement that Shekau had been seriously injured came days after Islamic State announced Abu Musab al Barnawi as the new Boko Haram leader.
In a 10-minute audio clip posted on social media, Shekau rejected the claim and dismissed Barnawi as an infidel who condoned living in an un-Islamic society without waging jihad.
Shekau became Boko Haram leader after founder Mohammed Yusuf was killed by security forces in 2009.
Boko Haram has killed approximately 15,000 people and displaced more than two million in a seven-year insurgency aimed at creating a state adhering to strict Islamic laws.
In the last week 10 soldiers were killed and 24 injured in a resurgence of violence in northeast Nigeria.
On Sunday, Boko Haram fighters ambushed a patrol in Abadam, Borno State, killing four soldiers and injuring 16 others.