A Western Blind Spot? Ctd

A reader responds to the question of Western coverage of Boko Haram compared to Charlie Hebdo:

A blind spot? Not at all. Violence in places with strong traditions of law and order is news.  Violence in places where there is less of such a tradition is not. Francis Fukuyama in his seminal two-volume work reveals to us how hundreds of years of effort under favorable geographic and cultural circumstances are required even to hope for such traditions. There is nothing racist or materialist about the lack of coverage.  It is nothing more than human beings refusing to regard what can plainly be anticipated as news.

The Dish, which is a fairly representative gauge of Western media coverage, has produced about 25 posts on Boko Haram overall. CNN had the terrorist group in its top 10 list of most talked about stories of 2014. Regarding the most recent massacre, we posted two roundups that included pieces from the AP, WaPo, Time, TNR, New Yorker, Reuters, Bloomberg, BBC, Guardian, etc. – hardly a blind spot of Western media, though others will argue that coverage wasn’t quick enough. Matt Schiavenza is on the same page as our reader:

The main difference between France and Nigeria isn’t that the public and the media care about one and not the other. It is, rather, that one country has an effective government and the other does not.

The French may not be too fond of President Francois Hollande – his approval ratings last November had plunged to 12 percent – but he responded to his country’s twin terror attacks with decisiveness. Not so Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan. Since assuming the presidency in 2010, Jonathan has done little to contain Boko Haram. The group emerged in 2002 and has consolidated control over an area larger than West Virginia. And it’s gaining ground. Perversely, the seemingly routine nature of Nigeria’s violence may have diminished the perception of its newsworthiness.

Along those lines, Charlotte Alters adds:

The reports coming out of Baga are still sketchy, and there’s not yet an official death toll because Boko Haram still controls the area. The details of the Charlie Hebdo attacks were immediately available, and were accompanied by compelling video that quickly dominated every major news network. … More importantly, the attack in Paris was largely unprecedented (Charlie Hebdo was firebombed in 2011, but nobody was hurt), while the massacre in Nigeria is part of a long string of Boko Haram attacks that some are even calling a “war“: the group killed over 10,000 people last year, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, and 1.5 million have fled their homes since the insurgency started. Plus, the fact that the Charlie Hebdo attack was a dramatic ambush of journalists may have added a layer of panic to the media coverage.

The latest on those “sketchy” reports:

Now, new satellite imagery obtained and released by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) appears to confirm that considerable damage occurred in the towns of Baga and Doro Gowon in Borno state.

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The scale of the damage is remarkable. Adotei Akwei, managing director of government relations at Amnesty International USA, says that the images and other evidence suggested that the death toll was “certainly 700, if not 2,000 or close to it.”

Meanwhile, a few more readers add personal perspective to both the coverage and coverage of the coverage:

In 1984, I was with a group of Canadian volunteers who came to teach English in Nigeria. We spent two weeks in Yola, then moved out to our postings in the state. Within two weeks after our departure, the central part of Yola (Jimeta) was in flames. There had been a conflict between police and a heretical Muslim sect called the Maitatsine. The crisis went on for days, and was only resolved, as we were told, after the army bombarded the central part of the city. The report was that 800 people had been killed.

Here’s the relevant part with respect to your story on Boko Haram: when the Canadian organisation contacted our families to reassure them that we were all right, it turned out that they didn’t know about the violence at all. 800 people (apparently) had died in Nigeria, and the Canadian media ran nothing about it.

Media silence on Boko Haram has only become an issue now because Western media were running stories on it in the first place, and then they died down. In 1984, the situation was worse and got no attention.

Another writes, “Try putting your son on a plane back to Nigeria”:

Thank you for bringing attention to Boko Haram, and specifically linking to Hilary Matfess’s piece. She’s got it exactly right. Boko Haram is not ISIS or Al Qaida fighting for a caliphate, exactly. Rather, it’s more like the rebelling army in a Civil War. And, if you ask an average Nigerian, it’s not so black and white as our media reports as to whom are the bad guys.

Boko Haram does this crazy shit because they’re nuts, don’t get me wrong. But Nigeria is the most corrupt country on the planet. Goodluck Jonathan sits on the top of the money pile, denying everything and doing nothing. The north has been marginalized politically and economically for way too long. Anyone who has been marginalized – going without clean water while politicians buy houses and art in Malibu – can tell you that when you have nothing, you have nothing to lose.

On a similar note, my son’s students are offspring of oil executives and corrupt politicians (they freely say that’s their parents’ job title), as well as Pakistanis who have survived their villages’ drone strikes by the US. A mix of students from such backgrounds gives you perspective. When he teaches Speech, for example, students are required to research, deconstruct, and present an important speech from someone they admire. You would expect the choices of most of the students, but some of them choose from Osama bin Laden. When your best friend or family was killed in a US drone strike, you don’t expect them to pick the Gettysburg Address.

A Western Blind Spot?


Boko Haram’s deadly attack on a Nigerian village has received a fraction of the attention paid to the attacks in France. Caroline Bankoff acknowledges that relative disinterest among white Western audiences is surely a factor, but she notes it’s also important to realize how hard it is to report from, or even travel to, any part of Nigeria under Boko Haram control:

The insurgents have destroyed much of the area’s telecommunications infrastructure, making it almost impossible to quickly transmit the photos, videos, and first-person accounts that news-watchers have grown accustomed to. “In Nigeria, you still have to contend with actually trying to ascertain what exactly went on,” said professor and African development expert Muna Ndulo. “To some extent, that does affect the way people look at things.”

When reporting on the Baga killings, journalists [also] had to rely on sometimes unreliable information from terrorized survivors and local officials, which is why we still don’t really know how many casualties there were (estimates range from Amnesty International’s figure of 2,000 to “hundreds” to, as the New York Times cautiously reported, “dozens“). Meanwhile, the Nigerian government isn’t exactly eager to facilitate the spread of news from Baga. President Goodluck Jonathan, who is up for reelection in February, has yet to publicly mention the massacre, though he did send a condolence message to France in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings.

Ethan Zuckerman puts into context the divide in overall coverage:

A study we conducted in April 2014 suggests that media outlets publish three to ten times as many stories about France than about Nigeria. This disparity is striking as Nigeria’s population (estimated at 173 million) is almost three times the size of France’s population (66 million). There’s [also] bad news for those hoping online media will change existing patterns of media attention:

while broadcast news outlets ran 3.2 times as many stories about France as about Nigeria, online media outlets published more than ten times as many French as Nigerian stories (10.4 to be precise). We tend to read about countries like Nigeria only when they are in crisis, from terrorist attack or epidemics like Ebola. Despite the shocking magnitude of the attacks in Baga, the story can feel predictable, as the news we get from Nigeria is generally bad news. …

Attacks like the one on Paris are shocking, visible and rare, while attacks on Baga are common (though the scale of the Baga attack is unprecedented.) When we understand extremist violence as attacks on urban, developed, symbolic targets, we’re missing a much broader, messier picture, where religious extremism blends with political struggles and where the victims are usually anonymous, uncelebrated and forgotten. We miss the point that Islamic extremists are at war with other Muslims, that the source of terror is not a religion of 1.6 billion people, but a perverse, political interpretation held by a disenchanted few.

Along those lines, Hilary Matfess has a reality check for those who attempt to write off Boko Haram as just another Muslim extremist group like al Qaeda or ISIS:

[L]umping these organizations together ignores the local conditions that give rise to their specific characteristics. Attempting to understand Boko Haram from a transnational perspective yields very little; in more than a decade, the organization has only engaged in one attack on an “international target,” bombing the United Nations building in Abuja in 2011. For all of the rhetoric and symbolic overtures to internationalization that Pham and others point to, the operational characteristics of the Boko Haram insurgency are overwhelmingly focused on Nigeria.

The changes in the insurgency’s tactics in Nigeria are likely a reaction to the policies of the Nigerian government and the resources available to the insurgency than a response to global jihadist currents. It’s critical to note that Boko Haram began as a largely non-violent (though anti-system) Muslim reform movement, targeting local imams and politicians that were unsympathetic to their strict interpretation of sharia law. The movement only became radicalized following the Nigerian government’s 2009 offensive, in which an estimated 700 people, including Boko Haram’s founder Mohammed Yusuf, were killed by members of the Nigerian security sector, while members of the Joint Task Force engaged in egregious human rights abuses and violations of the rule of law. While Abubaker Shekau may include in his sermons international jihadist rhetoric, much of Boko Haram’s ideology and mobilization centers on the specific abuses of the government.

Ryan Cummings suggests reporters and NGOs be more careful with their death tolls as well:

By punting uncorroborated and likely inflated casualty figures, we run the credible risk of quantifying human suffering in a manner which could discourage much-needed international awareness of the Boko Haram conflict. Death tolls which do not tally into the thousands may no longer draw headlines.  Nor will such reports likely evoke the condemnation which accompanied initial reports of Baga and its dead. Instead, Nigerians will continue to die by the scores awaiting help from a world which will only care when they are dying by the thousands.

(Photo: A man holds a placard that reads “Je suis Charlie, n’oublions pas les victimes de Boko Haram” (“I am Charlie, let’s not forget the victims of Boko Haram”) as people gather outside the French embassy in Abidjan, on January 11, 2015, in tribute to the 17 victims of the three-day killing spree in Paris last week. By Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images)

Meanwhile In Nigeria, Ctd


Earlier this week, Alexis Okeowo filed an update that lowered the death toll from Boko Haram’s recent assault on the Nigerian village of Baga to “hundreds, but not as many as a thousand.” The UN additionally estimates that some 20,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in the past two weeks. And as Peter Dörrie notes, the atrocity in Baga was only part of the increasingly-distressing story:

The Islamists [also] captured and partially destroyed no fewer than 16 other towns and villages in Borno state. The army repelled a large-scale attack on Damaturu, the capital of neighboring Yobe state. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a market in Potiskum, a town in Yobe. The blasts killed at least 19 people. One attacker was a 10-year-old girl. …

The attack also hit the official base for the Multi-National Joint Task Force tasked with beating back the militants. It’s a further blow to a force that was already struggling. The MNJTF originally planned to incorporate 700 soldiers each from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon to counter the insurgents in a region where borders have little practical relevance. But the MNJTF never took off, and now Niger has officially ruled out helping Nigeria take back Baga. Chad and Cameroon kept their distance from the project, citing Nigeria’s unwillingness to live up to its troop commitments for the force.

Sadly, Obinna Anyadike notes that neither Boko Haram’s use of teenage girls as suicide bombers nor the inability of Nigerian troops to hold territory is news at this point. She asserts that “Nigeria is proof that military spending does not necessarily buy security”:

The 2014 defence budget was $2.1 billion and the overall security allotment $5.8 billion – the largest slice of the government’s expenditure pie. And yet the regular excuse is that its soldiers are out-gunned by Boko Haram, despite the helicopter gunships, ground-attack aircraft, and surveillance drones in the official inventory. … Corruption is said to the biggest enemy, with money and fuel meant for the troops siphoned off by senior officers. The repeated failure to destroy munitions and equipment before positions are surrendered to Boko Haram is another factor, as is – sadly, given Nigeria’s peacekeeping pedigree – military incompetence.

When the troops are well led and properly supplied they win their battles. But there have been repeated reports of the military even failing to make use of reliable intelligence provided by its allies. And now the government has splurged on opaque defence contracts, with more helicopter gunships, mine-resistant armoured vehicles and possibly a squadron of new, never-before flown by any other air force, counter-insurgency aircraft.

The response to Boko Haram from Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has been lackluster at best. As for the timing of the new violence, last month Ryan Cummings predicted the militants would attempt to influence February’s presidential election:

From an ideological perspective, Boko Haram [will] undoubtedly seek to undermine any process which would underpin its greatest adversary; namely, a secular Western-styled democracy. By violently disrupting the election cycle, the sect could raise serious questions regarding the perceived inclusiveness and transparency of the ballot—a move which could delegitimize the voting process and its eventual victor.

To deal with such a threat, the Bloomberg editors argue that Nigeria’s leaders and the international community need to step up – and fast:

The parties contesting the vote can best respond by toning down their mutual antagonism and bloodthirsty rhetoric. The government must also try harder to provide security for polling places, especially in the north, and speed up its introduction of biometric voting cards. More international observers, deployed for longer, would help.

There’s a limit to what outsiders can do, though. The U.S. and U.K. have curtailed cooperation with Nigeria’s beleaguered army because of human-rights abuses. Specific, vetted units might still be receptive to training and assistance. Beyond that, strengthening the ability of Nigeria’s neighbors to prevent Boko Haram’s incursions might be the best outsiders can do.

Remi Adekoya suggests that Nigeria’s former military dictator, the opposition presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari, might be just what the country needs:

[A]fter a year in which Boko Haram and government corruption has dominated local headlines, the ex-general has two things going for him: a reputation for strong leadership and incorruptibility. He is probably the only prominent Nigerian politician today who isn’t hounded by allegations of embezzling public funds. [Also, a] president with military experience to take on corrupt army officers would surely serve as a morale booster to the Nigerian soldiers battling Boko Haram.

Granted, the ex-general has no magic wand to make the militants simply vanish. But in this period of existential crisis, Nigeria may need a wartime leader who can project reassuring strength and provide a plausible strategy for overcoming the insecurity in the country. Time is running out.

But in a recent profile, the BBC highlighted Buhari’s mixed record during the 20 months he led the country:

About 500 politicians, officials and businessmen were jailed as part of a campaign against waste and corruption. Some saw this as the heavy-handed repression of military rule.

But others remember it as a praiseworthy attempt to fight the endemic graft that prevented Nigeria’s development. He retains a rare reputation for honesty among Nigeria’s politicians, both military and civilian, largely because of this campaign. As part of his “War Against Indiscipline”, he ordered Nigerians to form neat queues at bus stops, under the sharp eyes of whip-wielding soldiers. Civil servants who were late for work were publicly humiliated by being forced to do frog jumps. He also introduced a notorious decree to restrict press freedom, under which two journalists were jailed. However, his attempts to re-balance public finances by curbing imports led to many job losses and the closure of businesses.

Meanwhile, In Nigeria …

Over the past few days, Boko Haram has massacred hundreds of people in what Amnesty International is calling the deadliest attack in the jihadist group’s history:

Mike Omeri, the government spokesman on the insurgency, said fighting continued Friday for Baga, a town on the border with Chad where insurgents seized a key military base on Jan. 3 and attacked again on Wednesday. “Security forces have responded rapidly, and have deployed significant military assets and conducted airstrikes against militant targets,” Omeri said in a statement. District head Baba Abba Hassan said most victims are children, women and elderly people who could not run fast enough when insurgents drove into Baga, firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on town residents. … An Amnesty International statement said there are reports the town was razed and as many as 2,000 people killed.

Emphasis added. Aryn Baker provides some background:

The offensive started on Jan. 3 with a daring raid on a multinational military base near Baga that had been established to combat crime in the lawless border region where Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon meet. It has since been repurposed to address the growing regional threat of Boko Haram, a militant Islamist group that got its start in northeastern Nigeria in 2002 and has used kidnapping—most notably of more than 200 schoolgirls last year—as an effective tactic. The base fell to the militants early Sunday morning, Jan 4, after several hours of intense fighting.

The second assault, which started in Baga itself on Jan. 6, appears to be an attempt by the rebels to assert their authority in an area of divided loyalties, according to Roddy Barclay, senior Africa analyst at Control Risks, a political risk consultancy based in London. “Boko Haram has frequently attacked communities perceived to support the government,” he says. “The use of violence is designed to drive community fear and compliance in order to further Boko Haram’s agenda.”

Jessica Schulberg adds that Boko Haram’s last headline-grabbing atrocity remains unresolved:

Meanwhile, the more than 200 Nigerian girls who were abducted by Boko Haram last year are approaching their ninth month of captivity. The U.S. has contributed hostage negotiators, surveillance drones, and intelligence analysts to the search. In May, Robert Jackson, a State Department specialist on Africa told the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee, “Resolving this crisis is now one of the highest priorities of the US government.”

Terrence McCoy is at a loss for what to do about this bloodthirsty insurgency:

It’s hard to find contemporary precedent for the delight Boko Haram takes in killing. Even the Islamic State, which has killed thousands and purposely targets minorities, doesn’t seem to be as wanton in its acts of carnage. It appears everyone — Muslim, Christian, Cameroonian, Nigerian — is a target for Boko Haram. … Is there any stopping it? For the time being, it appears not. The administration of Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck and his military, beset by corruption and ill-equipped, have been unable to match both Boko Haram’s firepower, discipline and fundraising. And now, with Boko Haram’s campaign to control northeast Nigeria complete, analysts said its territorial ambitions have outgrown Nigeria’s porous borders.

A Breakthrough With Boko Haram? Not So Much.

A week ago, the Nigerian government claimed that a ceasefire deal with the radical Islamic militant group would lead to the return of over 200 schoolgirls abducted from Chibok in April, but the girls not been returned as promised, and 25 more girls have been kidnapped in an attack on a town in northeastern Nigeria:

John Kwaghe, who witnessed the attack and lost three daughters to the abductors, and Dorathy Tizhe, who lost two, said the kidnappers came late in the night, forcing all the women to go with them, then later releasing the older ones. The attack cast further doubt on government reports that it has secretly reached a temporary ceasefire with the rebels in order to secure the release of more than 200 schoolgirls they are holding hostage. “We are confused that hours after the so-called ceasefire agreement has been entered between the Federal Government and Boko Haram insurgents, our girls were abducted by the insurgents,” Kwaghe said. “We urge the government to please help rescue our daughters without further delay, as we are ready to die searching.”

Chad, which brokered the truce, claims that the deal is still on, although some factions of Boko Haram are not abiding by it, and that the Chibok girls are still expected to come home once the details of a prisoner exchange are finalized. The new abduction, however, has cast serious doubt on the agreement. “Sadly,” writes Andrew Noakes, “there is now strong reason to believe the deal could be fake”:

The mystery of Danladi Ahmadu, Boko Haram’s “representative” during the ceasefire talks, is also cause for concern. According to journalist Ahmad Salkida, who has a history of close contact with the group, Ahmadu is an imposter. Salkida, who knows most of Boko Haram’s leading figures by their first names, has said he’s never heard of Ahmadu. Other sources familiar with the group have also expressed doubts about his claim to be a leading figure. It seems he is either completely bogus, or representing a little-known faction in the insurgency – and Salkida has been quick to dismiss the latter option.

He’s not the only skeptic, either. Many believe last week’s announcement had more to do with politics than reality:

“I sense Nigeria rushed to announce the deal with electoral-political calculations in mind,” said Mark Schroeder, vice president of Africa Analysis at the Stratfor consultancy. “Getting a victory with the schoolgirls and a short-term truce with Boko Haram could be positive for President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign,” he said. The announcement of the truce came a day before a rally of the president’s supporters in Abuja, although he has yet to announce his candidacy. Some residents of Nigeria’s northeast, which has born the brunt of the insurgency, also saw political calculations behind the announcement and doubted the talks in N’Djamena would lead to a lasting peace.

Anne Look shines a light on Boko Haram’s many other captives, noting that the group “has taken hundreds of young men, women and children, using various forms of coercion or enticement, since the insurgency began in 2009”:

Activists working with men who have later escaped say the men report being given some training and say Christians are forced to convert. They say Boko Haram makes the new recruits charge out front in battle, a kind of human shield. Locals say Boko Haram has used other methods, too, to get men to join as they have gobbled up territory this year.

A resident of the Damboa district, Musa Ibrahim, says Boko Haram would try to entice the young men out in the villages, promising them money if they join, as much as $1,200 (200,000 naira). He says they would also come around to “tax” the communities – telling them contribute food or a certain number of able-bodied men or else. Boko Haram took over the district capital Damboa in July. They ravaged the town, which some say they accused of helping the military. It was similar to other raids across Borno state: burn the houses, loot, grab teenage girls, kill the men or conscript them.

A Breakthrough With Boko Haram?

On Friday, news of a ceasefire between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram raised hopes that the 219 kidnapped schoolgirls from Chibok might finally be released, but with the truce already in doubt, nobody is daring to celebrate too soon:

Two senior government sources said on Saturday that they hoped the release would be completed by Tuesday. On Friday, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh announced a deal with Boko Haram for a ceasefire that would enable the release of the girls, who have been held since April.

But within hours, Boko Haram had already broken the ceasefire, killing at least nine people in two attacks – one on the village of Abadam on Friday night, and another attack on the village of Dzur on Saturday morning. “I can confirm that FG (the federal government) is working hard to meet its own part of the agreement so that the release of the abductees can be effected either on Monday or latest Tuesday next week,” one source told Reuters by telephone.

Atta Barkindo questions whether the ceasefire is genuine:

The first inklings of this particular ceasefire agreement were heard on October 16 when Danladi Ahmadu, who claimed to be the “secretary-general” of Boko Haram, told the Voice of America (VOA) that an agreement had been reached between his group and the Nigerian government with the involvement of officials from Chad and Cameroon. …

But there are some credibility problems with this ceasefire agreement. First there is huge scepticism about the identity of Danladi Ahmadu. In his VOA interview, Ahmadu even referred to Boko Haram as Boko Haram and not its real name, Jama’atu Ahlul Sunnah Lidda’awati wal Jihad. Additionally, it is difficult to ascertain if Ahmadu is representing a particular faction of Boko Haram or the group’s mainstream leadership. Ahmad Salkida, a Nigerian journalist with proven records of contact with the leadership of Boko Haram, dented the credibility of the ceasefire and appeared to suggest that Nigeria may have been hoodwinked by the broker.

And even if the deal is for real, Simon Kolawole points out that some people won’t be very happy about it:

In some circles … a ceasefire represents the ultimate surrender of the Nigerian state to terrorism, a huge dent on national ego and a sign of how weak the Nigerian government has become. To the military hierarchy, this may be viewed as a humiliation, for how can we be discussing with terrorists who deserve nothing but death after all the horror they have inflicted on soldiers and civilians? I also heard several comments that President Goodluck Jonathan agreed to the peace deal because he is desperate to be returned to office next year. We all have our opinions, of course.

Jonathan’s re-election bid is just one part of the “multilayered drama” in which, to Richard Joseph’s eyes, the kidnapped girls are merely pawns:

For a start, it has been unclear how Boko Haram is financed — and how much assistance it might be receiving from disaffected members of the northern Nigerian elite, as well as those holding government positions at the federal and state levels. “Underground” campaigns involving the use of armed thugs have been a staple feature of Nigerian party politics for decades, and international human rights groups have noted a “dirty war” conducted by soldiers and government-financed militias. These abuses, combined with the dysfunction of the armed forces, complicate external assistance.

The problem for Nigeria is that although the jihadists will eventually almost certainly be crushed, as were the secessionists in Nigeria’s civil war, the clock is ticking on a greater threat to the Nigerian nation, namely popular protests in northern Nigeria following February’s presidential poll, which President Goodluck Jonathan is certain to contest.

Abubakar Shekau: Back From The Dead?

The elusive Boko Haram leader, whom Nigeria had claimed was dead, appeared in a video on Thursday to taunt his enemies:

So much for the Nigerian government’s insistence that it killed him two weeks ago. In the video, Shekau, who claims for the second time to have declared an Islamic caliphate in northeastern Nigeria, is seen standing in an unidentified location, wielding a large gun, and wearing camouflage and a traditional scarf. Speaking in Hausa, a common language in the region, he states that no one but Allah can decide when he will die. “Here I am, alive,” he said. “I will only die the day Allah takes my breath.”

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), the only news agency to obtain a full version of the 36-minute video, the footage shows gruesome acts of violence carried out by the extremist group, including amputations and deaths by stoning and beheading. In some shots, groups of people, including children, are gathered around to watch to the violence.

Adam Taylor adds:

Shekau’s “death” and reappearance show just how difficult a figure he is to understand.

As my colleague Terrence McCoy has noted, Shekau may lead one of the world’s most notorious extremist groups and have a $7 million bounty on his head, but basic facts about his life (for example, his age) are hard to ascertain. Stranger still, analysts believe that there may be more than one person posing as “Abubakar Shekau.” In one analysis, the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium looked at different videos released by Boko Haram and found significant inconsistencies in “Shekau.”

That seems to be the story the Nigerian military is running with, as it maintains that Shekau really is dead:

In a statement, the Nigerian Defense Headquarters insisted the man in the video, who it says it actually a militant named Mohammed Bashir, was killed last month during a battle in the town of Kondunga. Last week, the military released photos showing a strong resemblance between the bearded man in the video with a corpse found after the battle. Thursday’s statement said the new video, released by French news agency AFP, had no indication of when it was recorded and did not make any reference to events that have happened since the death of what the military called “the impostor.”