Boko Haram leader says coronavirus 'punishment for evil'
In a voice recording publicised Thursday, Nigeria's most-wanted man, Shekau, derided world leaders in his native Hausa language in what has been described as "infantile" and "sickening" remarks.
"The evil you do is what brought this," Shekau said about the pandemic, which has infected over 2 million people globally - resulting in at least 135,000 deaths.
"In the times of infidels like [US President Donald] Trump... If you don't repent you will be finished," the notorious militant group leader said, according to an English-language transcript published by Nigerian outlet Hum Angle.
Shekau, whose militants have killed tens of thousands of people, said "it's evil to lock down people", criticising measures adopted by governments to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In Nigeria, the virus has claimed 12 lives, with a total infection count of 407 as of Thursday.
Shekau insinuated that while countries across the globe, including Nigeria, suffered from the ramifications of the virus, Boko Haram members would not be affected.
"While you are all infected with the coronavirus, we have anti-coronavirus; it is the Allah we worship. We pray and we slay fornicators," Shekau said in the clip.
"Here, we pray five times daily. We offer our (Friday) congregational prayers and we stick together. We join hands and eat from one bowl. We are doing very, very, very well," he added.
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Shekau is in hiding and his exact whereabouts are unknown. The Boko Haram leader resurfaces occasionally through videotaped messages, often mocking the Nigerian military or world powers.
Boko Haram's insurgency in northeastern Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon has claimed at least 27,000 lives since 2009 and has forced over 2 million to flee their homes.