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Nigeria’s Boko Haram chief is lifeless, say rival militants

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Abubakar Shekau

The chief of the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has killed himself, rival Islamist militants mentioned in an audio recording.

In audio obtained by information companies, the Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap) mentioned Shekau died detonating explosives on himself after a battle between the 2 teams.

Shekau was reported lifeless final month and has been reported killed earlier than.

Neither Boko Haram nor the Nigerian authorities have confirmed his loss of life.

What did the recording say?

Within the undated audio recording, a voice regarded as that of Iswap chief Abu Musab al-Barnawi mentioned Shekau “killed himself immediately by detonating an explosive”.

Iswap fighters hunted down the warlord and provided him the prospect to repent and be a part of them, al-Barnawi mentioned.

“Shekau most popular to be humiliated within the afterlife than getting humiliated on earth,” he mentioned.

When stories of Shekau’s loss of life in a conflict circulated final month, the Nigerian military mentioned it could examine.

Military spokesman Brig Gen Mohammed Yerima informed the BBC on the time the military was wanting into what occurred, however that it could not challenge an announcement till it acquired definitive proof.

One journalist with shut hyperlinks to safety companies mentioned that Shekau died when Iswap attacked Boko Haram positions within the Sambisa forest, north-east Nigeria.

He has been reported lifeless quite a few occasions earlier than, solely to resurface.

Who’s Abubakar Shekau?

After taking the reins of Boko Haram after its founder died in police custody in 2009, Shekau led its transformation from an underground sect to a lethal insurgency that has swept north-east Nigeria.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau holds a weapon in an unknown location in Nigeria

Shekau used propaganda movies to advertise his violent ideology

Underneath Shekau, Boko Haram staged bombings, kidnappings and jail breaks throughout the area. And from 2014, it started overrunning cities in a bid to create an Islamic State below Sharia legislation.

Believed to be in his early- to mid-40s, Shekau backed a bloody jihadist marketing campaign in propaganda movies that drew comparisons to Osama Bin Laden.

“I get pleasure from killing… the way in which I get pleasure from slaughtering chickens and rams,” he mentioned in a single 2012 video.

Since he took cost, greater than 30,000 individuals have been killed and over two million displaced from their houses.

The group gained world consideration after its 2014 kidnapping of tons of of women from a college in Chibok, in Borno state, sparking the #BringBackOurGirls motion. Lots of them are nonetheless lacking.

Quickly after, the US declared Shekau a “world terrorist” and positioned a $7 million (£4.9m) bounty on his head.

Shekau’s agenda was so radical that he was rejected by Islamic State, which break up from Boko Haram to kind Iswap in 2016.

What subsequent for Boko Haram?

Ought to Shekau’s loss of life be confirmed, it’s unsure it could spell the top for Boko Haram, analysts say.

Since breaking away, Iswap has displaced Boko Haram because the dominant insurgency within the area.

Some predict Shekau’s loss of life may result in the top of the violent rivalry between the 2 teams, enabling Iswap to soak up Boko Haram fighters, however others say they’ll stay loyal to his concepts.

“There’s division amongst Shekau’s followers about whether or not to affix Iswap now or struggle Iswap,” Jacob Zenn, editor of the Jamestown Basis Terrorism Monitor, informed the BBC

“There was by no means a plan for the dictator of the group assembly his demise. It seems there’ll now be a chaotic interval.”

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