Boko Haram leader is dead, Nigerian officials claim

Boko Haram leader is DEAD after blowing himself up with a suicide vest to avoid capture by rival ISIS jihadists, Nigerian officials claim

  •  The leader of Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau has died officials have claimed
  •  Abubakar Shekau detonated suicide vest when confronted with rival fighters
  • Fighting occurred in Borno state, where ISWAP has become the dominant force

The leader of the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram has died after detonating a suicide vest, officials have claimed.

Abubakar Shekau, who orchestrated the kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014, detonated the explosives when confronted with fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in northern Nigeria.

The fighting occurred in the Borno state, where ISWAP has become the dominant force in Nigeria’s more than a decade-long jihadist insurgency, a memo obtained by The Wall Street Journal found.

While there is not yet official confirmation about Shekau’s death from the Nigerian government, the Journal was able to review transcripts between insurgents discussing his suicide.   

The leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has died after detonating a suicide vest, officials have claimed

One intercepted militant commander said: ‘Shekau detonated a bomb and killed himself.’

Bulama Bukarti, an analyst at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, told The Wall Street Journal: ‘Shekau has been the longest lasting terrorist leader in the world; perhaps the world’s least understood warlord and its most underestimated.

‘This is a huge moment for Nigeria.’ 

Following the reports Nigerian Army spokesman Mohammed Yerima said the authorities were ‘looking into it carefully’.

He told The Washington Post: ‘We are looking into it carefully.

‘In the past, we have reported that he is dead and then he comes back.’

Shekau, who made international headlines when his men kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014, has been reported dead several times since Boko Haram first launched its insurrection in 2009.

His death could now de-stabilise his Boko Haram faction which has already been weakened by military air strikes on its bases and defections among his men. 

More than 40,000 people have been killed and more than two million displaced from their homes by the conflict in northeast Nigeria, and fighting has spread to parts of neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger. 

Boko Haram and ISWAP have fought battles for control of territory in the past.  

ISWAP has emerged as the stronger force, carrying out complex attacks on the military and overrunning army bases.

Shekau detonated the explosives when confronted with fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in northern Nigeria

Shekau, who took over Boko Haram in 2009, made international headlines when his men kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014

Shekau took over Boko Haram, formally known as the Jama’tu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, after its founder Muhammad Yusuf was killed by police in 2009.

Under Shekau’s leadership, Boko Haram turned large swathes of the northeast into a no-go territory, proclaiming a ‘caliphate’ in the Borno town of Gwoza in 2014.

An offensive since 2015 by Nigerian troops backed by soldiers from Cameroon, Chad and Niger drove jihadists from most of the area that they had once controlled.

Angered by Shekau’s indiscriminate targeting of civilians and use of women and children as suicide bombers, a rival faction broke away in 2016 to become ISWAP with the backing of the Islamic State group.

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