Security agencies are currently on alert over the reported killing of Abubakar Shekau, leader of the Boko Haram sect.
On Wednesday evening, reports filtered in that Shekau was killed during a face-off with fighters of the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), around Sambisa Forest.
Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists neighbour each other around the Lake Chad region.
Despite resistance from countries in the Lake Chad region, the terrorists have continued their operation, severally clashing with the Multi-National Join Task Force comprising the security operatives from neighbouring countries.
In an intelligence cited this morning, Baana Duguri, an ISWAP Commander, said Shekau’s men and ISWAP fighters engaged in a fierce battle on Wednesday.
The ISWAP fighters were said to have been on the trail of Shekau whom they wanted to capture alive but the Boko Haram leader reportedly committed suicide to avoid being caught.
“The ISWAP fighters surrounded the Boko Harm leader as the shooting ensued between the two sides but Shekau detonated a bomb and killed himself when he observed that the ISWAP fighters wanted to capture him alive,” the intelligence read.
The reports stated that “On 19th May 2021, about 1829hours, ISWAP top Fighter Baana DUGURI-on this selector – geolocated around sambisa forest Pulka Gwoza LGA BRS, informed ISWAP logistics commander MODU SULUM- geolocated opposite General hospital Konduga LGA Borno state that, they killed ABUBAKAR SHEKAU over all BH leader in Sambisa Forest date. “DUGURI disclosed that the ISWAP fighters team surrounded the BH leader with his team and shooting ensued between the 2 factions.DUGURI further added that SHEKAU detonated a bomb and killed himself when he observed that the ISWAP fighters wanted to capture him alive. “Furthermore, DUGURI informed SULUM that the two sides also lost some fighters during the shooting .He avered that even Yesterday ISWAP was pursuing ABUBAKAR SHEKAU and he SHEKAU discarded his cap and ran but today the pursuit continued and he was finally killed.DUGURI asked MODU SULUM if the other BH members who fled are returning to their houses? “In his response,, SULUM rejoiced over the death of ABUBAKAR SHEKAU and glorified God over the success.He also said few BH members are returning to their houses.” Meanwhile, Nigerian military has placed all Borno State Commands of the Nigerian Army and Airforce on Alert. The troops have lately been carrying out discreet bombardments around the Sambisa axis and Lake Chad axis which may have triggered the current crisis and strife between the two hitherto collaborators
The military authorities are yet to comment on the news about Shekau’s death but top security sources confirmed that ISWAP’s claim is being verified.
Both the Department of State Services (DSS) and the army authorities are said to be verifying the claim.
Although there have been reports of ISWAP and Boko Haram Commanders being killed in exchange of gunfire, this is the first time that Shekau will be reported to have been killed in a battle with terrorists.
Shekau had been reported dead on different occasions in the past but during encounters with the military.
However, he has subsequently embarrassed the military and government by debunking the claim of his death through videos or audios.
Shekau took over leadership of Boko Haram in 2009 following the death of Mohammed Yusuf, the group’s founder.