Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Boko Haram sect, has been reported dead following the invasion of terror group’s territory in Sambisa forest area of Borno state by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters on Wednesday evening.
According to HumAngle, 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 truck.
Shekau’s enclave was reportedly 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.
According to multiple reports, after his bodyguards were subdued, Shekau surrendered and engaged in an hours-long meeting with the ISWAP fighters.
During the parley, he was asked to voluntarily relinquish power and order his fighters in other areas to declare bai’a (allegiance) to ISWAP’s authority, expecting Shekau to issue a statement.
However, Shekau, who had evaded the Nigerian military for years, died by blowing up himself with an explosive following ISWAP fighters’ request to relinquish power to them.
Identities of the people within ISWAP’s leadership who lost their lives to the explosion remain unclear, as at the time of filing this report.
Also, Nigeria’s army spokesman Mohammed Yerima told AFP by text that ‘we are investigating’ the reports.
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 August 2015.
In August 2016, 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.
Meanwhile, the dislodgement of Abubakar Shekau-led Boko Haram terrorists from the Sambisa Forest and the killing of Shekau have heightened fears of terrorist attacks in Borno and adjoining states, according to multiple military sources.
The new development could further create problems for the civilian population and security forces in the receiving locations, considering ISWAP’s different approach and increased capacities for warfare.
Read Also: Boko Haram: Abubakar Shekau Is On The Run; Disguises As Woman In Hijab – Army
ISWAP’s invasion portend a greater security crisis, with the military asking residents of the affected states to be more vigilant.
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