Boko Haram leader behind kidnapping of 300 girls seriously injured after trying to blow himself up

Boko Haram leader behind kidnapping of 300 girls seriously injured after trying to blow himself up

21 May    Finance News
This file screengrab made on January 15, 2018, from a video released the same day by Islamist militant group Boko Haram shows Boko Haram factional leader Abubakar Shekau holding a heavy machine gun at an undisclosed location in Nigeria. - Nigerian Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has been seriously wounded after trying to kill himself to avoid capture during clashes with rival Islamic State-allied jihadists in the north of the country, two intelligence sources said May 20, 2021. Shekau's Boko Haram faction and fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province had been battling in northeastern Borno state, where ISWAP militants have become the dominant force in Nigeria's more than decade-long jihadist insurgency. 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 began its insurgency in 2009.  - Handout / BOKO HARAM /AFP

This file screengrab made on January 15, 2018, from a video released the same day by Islamist militant group Boko Haram shows Boko Haram factional leader Abubakar Shekau holding a heavy machine gun at an undisclosed location in Nigeria. – Nigerian Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has been seriously wounded after trying to kill himself to avoid capture during clashes with rival Islamic State-allied jihadists in the north of the country, two intelligence sources said May 20, 2021. Shekau’s Boko Haram faction and fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province had been battling in northeastern Borno state, where ISWAP militants have become the dominant force in Nigeria’s more than decade-long jihadist insurgency. 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 began its insurgency in 2009. – Handout / BOKO HARAM /AFP

The notorious leader of Islamist terror group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has been seriously injured, with some reporting he is dead after trying to blow himself up, according to intelligence sources.

Shekau, the man behind the Chibok schoolgirl kidnapping in 2014, tried to kill himself to avoid capture when a rival group supported by the Islamic State surrounded him on Wednesday, sources told AFP.

In a confidential briefing leaked to Nigerian media and seen by The Daily Telegraph, the country’s intelligence services said: “Shekau detonated a bomb and killed himself when he observed that the ISWAP fighters wanted to capture him alive.”

But an intelligence source told AFP Shekau had managed to escape with some men after the attack.

See also  American Express announces SME travel spending is now exceeding pre-covid levels

In 2016, men from Boko Haram defected to create a splinter group, known as Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).

While Shekau revelled in indiscriminate brutality, ISWAP refused to kill Muslim civilians in a ploy to more successfuly recruit from local communities.

Bulama Bukarti, a Boko Haram specialist at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, told The Telegraph that if confirmed, Shekau’s death would be “a huge milestone, a turning point in Boko Haram’s history.”

“If his death exacerbates the infighting, it means more killings on both sides and that would be positive news for counter terrorism. If his death leads to the reunification of Boko Haram, then it will become a unified force and they will continue to pursue civilian-friendly policy.”

The brutal leader has been reported dead several times in the past, but each time he has issued statements or videos to rebut the claims.

The cleric became the group’s leader in 2010 and launched a sadistic campaign of terror across the Lake Chad region into southern Niger, northern Cameroon and Chad. Hamstrung by low morale, a lack of resources and decades of corruption, the Nigerian military struggled to stop Boko Haram’s advance.

“Shekau defied the Nigerian armed forces for 12 years, if it’s true it speaks volumes about how alarmingly powerful ISWAP is,” Mr Bukarti added.

Despite frequent declarations of victory by the Nigerian government, Boko Haram and their breakaway group, ISWAP, have proved extraordinarily resilient. Reportedly, the jihadists have killed thousands of local soldiers over the last two years.

More than 40,000 people have been killed and over two million have fled their homes due to the conflict in northeast Nigeria. Fighting has spread to parts of neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *