There was heightened fear around the Lake Chad Basin and fringes of the Sambisa forest, Thursday, following the alleged killing of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau by the splinter group, Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP).
The Defence Headquarters could not confirm the killing of Shekau, Nigeria’s most wanted terrorist as at the time of filing this report.
Acting Director Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko, said the military cannot confirm the development yet.
The DHQ had while defending repeated claims of killing of Shekau by troops, explained that ‘Shekau’ is a mere title bestowed on the leader of the group and not a name of an individual.
Former Coordinator of the Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, now retired, told journalists that ‘Shekau’ has been killed by troops on several occasions.
But The Nation gathered from intelligence sources that the Boko Haram leader was killed in a supremacy battle with ISWAP fighters, who have criticized his mode of operation, especially attacks on Mosques and killing of women and children
ISWAP was reported to have carried out several raids on Boko Haram camps and carried away their women and children.
“Leader of Nigerian militant terrorist group, Boko Haram has been reportedly killed after a deadly clash between his men and those of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP),” intelligence sources confirmed.
ISWAP recently dislodged Boko Haram in some section of the Sambisa forest, it was learnt.
According to Situation Report, “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 said they killed Abubakar Shekau overall BH leader in Sambisa Forest.
“Duguri disclosed that the ISWAP fighters’ team surrounded the BH leader with his team and shooting ensued between the two 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 averred 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.”
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Meanwhile, Nigerian military has placed all Borno State Commands of the Nigerian Army and Airforce on alert, over possible movement of dislodged insurgents.