Boko Haram ringleader blows himself up: Daesh offshoot in Nigeria
An offshoot of the Daesh (ISIS) terrorist group known as ISWAP, which operates in in West Africa, announced on Sunday that Abubakar Shekau, leader of rival Nigerian militant group Boko Haram, has died from self-afflicted wound.
Shekau died around May 18 after detonating an explosive device when he was pursued by ISWAP fighters following a battle, a person purporting to be ISWAP leader Abu Musab al-Barnawi said in an audio recording heard by Reuters.
Shekau took his own life after clashes between the Daesh splinter group and Boko Haram, during which he sought to flee, but was eventually cornered, Reuters said.
In the audio recording, the man identified as al-Barnawi said his fighters had sought out the warlord on the orders of the Daesh leadership, and battled Boko Haram insurgents until Shekau fled.
ISWAP chased him down and offered him the chance to repent and join them, he said.
However, Boko Haram's leader has been reported to be killed on several
occasions over the last 12 years, including in announcements by the
military, only to later appear in a video post.
Under Shekau, Boko Haram developed into, what some analysts judge as, one of the most ferocious Takfiri outfits that Africa has ever seen to itself.
During the height of the group’s activities, Shekau had once allied himself with Daesh.
Boko Haram has killed more than 30,000 people, engaged in mass kidnappings, and forced around two million people to flee their homes.
Boko Haram and ISWAP have been battling in northeastern Borno state, where ISWAP militants have become the dominant force in Africa’s most populous nation.
Observers now warn that his death could be followed by the Daesh offshoot’s absorbing Boko Haram’s terrorists and consolidating Daesh’s activities in Nigeria and beyond.
Boko Haram’s harsh violence has spilled over into the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger, and Cameroon, which have come together to create a joint military force to fight the terrorists.
The presence of terrorist groups in Africa has been an excuse for global powers to re-enter these countries. This was seen in the French military intervention in Mali and the US military campaign in Somalia.