Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram faction, Jama’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (JAS), is reportedly dead.
On Thursday, Eons Intelligence reported that his demise followed an attack by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a splinter group.
ISWAP fighters, led by its commander, Bana Duguri, stormed the Sambisa hideout of Boko Haram.
Shekau had surrendered and engaged in an hours-long meeting with the ISWAP fighters, where he was asked to voluntarily relinquish power. He refused and instead opted to blow himself up. This was possible because he had a suicide vest on.
ISWAP, which had broken away from the Shekau-led Boko Haram faction in 2016 after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), raided the group’s hideout using multiple gun trucks.
Shekau’s enclave was tracked down by ISWAP using its forces based in the Timbuktu Triangle. His fighters were killed in the process, followed by a long gunfire exchange between the invading group and Shekau’s bodyguards.
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This is not the first news about the death of Shekau. If true, ISWAP will likely make an announcement in the coming days.
A source told DAILY POST that the Nigerian military and intelligence agencies are in touch with the development.
The identities of the people within ISWAP’s leadership who lost their lives to the explosion remain unclear at this time.
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Although there was no official statement or confirmation on the death of the most wanted terrorist leader, Shekau by Nigerian security forces, a lot of people took to their social media platforms celebrating Shekau’s death on Thursday morning.
According to a security report obtained said, “Unconfirmed source reported that the leader of JAS Abubakar shekau was dethroned and killed by ISWAP and they have taken over the entire sambisa forest.
“With these development ISWAP are more equipped and funded than JAS. So their mode of operation will change, and there is likely going to experience frequent attacks around Konduga, Bama, Gwoza, Biu LGA’S and part of Adamawa.
“All humanitarians around the axis should be security conscious and be very vigilant.”
Shekau had been the leader of Boko Haram since 2009 following the death of the group’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf. He had been rumoured to have been killed at least four times between July 2009 and Aug. 2015. In Aug. 2016, the Nigerian Air Force claimed he had been “fatally wounded” by military bombardments, but the terror group released a video only a month later showing he was alive and in good health.
The Sambisa forest area had been a stronghold of the Shekau-led Boko Haram group, also known as the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah Wa’l-Jihād (JAS).
Although confrontation and skirmishes between the two rival factions (JAS and ISWAP) are common, the situation recently spiked to new levels.
The clashes, according to the monitoring of the group’s communications, followed attempts to advise Boko Haram about overusing takfir (non-believer) designations or doing so incorrectly.
Seizing Sambisa forest from JAS also holds the promise of offering increased protection to ISWAP fighters from military airstrikes, which its strongholds in the Lake Chad area are prone to.
The recent development comes on the tail of persistent ISWAP attacks on military bases and garrisons as well as events within the group that included the arrival of visitors and reemergence of Abu Musab Al-Barnawi (Habib Yusuf) as an interim leader.
Abu Musab, a son of Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf, previously served as the group’s spokesperson. But he later joined a sub-group of fighters, including top lieutenant Mamman Nur, who broke away due to Shekau’s rigid methods and extreme position on takfir.
The breakaway faction, now known as ISWAP, moved into the Alagarno and Lake Chad Basin, dislodging or taking over Boko Haram assets in the areas and subsequently becoming the dominant terror group in the axis, according to Humangle.