Nigeria: Uncertainty Over Shekau's Purported Death

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau appearing in a propaganda video

Uncertainty yesterday trailed the reported death of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.

A section of the media had reported that the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) on Wednesday killed Shekau, the leader of the terrorist group, Jama'at Ahl as-Sunnah Lid Da'wah Wa'l-Jihad (JAS) also known as Boko Haram in a supremacy battle in Sambisa Forest.

Unofficial reports said ISWAP fighters invaded Sambisa Forest with heavy gun trucks where they killed Shekau.

But yesterday, both the military and other security agents could not confirm Shekau's death. The Nigerian Army only said that they were investigating the matter.

Earlier reports had claimed that Shekau blew up himself when he was about to be captured alive by ISWAP fighters after several hours of gun battle.

ISWAP and Boko Haram fighters control Sambisa Forest which shares boundaries with Konduga, Bama, Gwoza, Askira Uba, Hawul, Kaga and Biu local government areas in Borno State.

It also shares borders with some parts of Gujiba, Buni Yadi, Goniri in Yobe State and Madagali in Adamawa State.

The Nigerian Army said it is investigating reports of the clash between Boko Haram terrorists in the Sambisa Forest which led to the alleged death of Shekau.

The director, army public relations, Brig. Gen Mohammed Yerima, in phone conversation with LEADERSHIP Friday, yesterday, said though "it is an internal affair", the Army was investigating the veracity of the report.

"That is what I've been reading too. According to what I read, they said they had a clash in Sambisa. They are all in Sambisa, is it not internal? But up till now we have not confirmed it, we are still investigating," he said.

On whether the terrorists are in Sambisa Forest, he said, "If they are dislodged from Sambisa then where are they? Are they in the air?"

The acting director, defence media operations, Brig-Gen Benard Onyeuko, said he was yet to be briefed on the incident and so could not confirm the report.

"I don't have any brief on it. I've not been briefed on that. So, I cannot confirm until I have the details then I can get back to you," he said.

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