Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau has refuted recent media reports of his death or replacement in an audio message.
"It is indeed all over the global media of infidels that I am dead or that I am sick and incapacitated and have lost influence," he said in an eight-minute Hausa-language message released on social media on Sunday.
"It should be understood that this is false. This is indeed a lie. If it were true, my voice wouldn't have been heard, now that I am speaking," he noted.
The audio message has been verified by the SITE Intelligence Group.
On August 12, Chadian President Idriss Deby announced Shekau had been killed during combat with neighboring Nigeria's Boko Haram terrorists, adding that militant group would be finished “by the end of the year."
Deby added that Boko Haram was now headed by Mahamat Daoud.
Shekau’s absence in recent videos has also stoked speculations of his death or incapacitation.
“I have not disappeared. I am still alive and I am not dead,” Shekau said.
Shekau took control of Boko Haram following the death of its founder, Muhammad Yusuf, in Nigerian police custody in 2009, when the Takfiri group started its militancy which has claimed the lives of some 15,000 people over the past years.
Since violence has spilled over into Nigeria’s neighboring countries, soldiers from Chad, Cameroon and Niger have also joined the fight against the terrorists.
The militant group recently pledged allegiance to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, which itself primarily operates inside Iraq and Syria.