Abubakar Shekau was pronounced dead at the end of May. The announcement of the ISWAP group, rival of Boko Haram, confirms what was then only a rumor and could well mark the end of the sect known for its bloody abuses, but also the beginning of the expansion of the Islamic State in Nigeria.
The leader of the terrorist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, died in May. In any case, this is what the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) group announced, which, in an audio recording, confirms the information that had been circulating for several weeks.
“Shekau preferred humiliation in the Hereafter to humiliation on earth. He killed himself by setting off an explosive, “said the recording, the transcript of which was relayed by several media.
The audio recording describes the fighting between Abubakar Shekau’s troops and Iswap’s troops in Sambisa Forest over the past month. According to the ISIS-affiliated group, the head of Boko Haram, cornered by enemy fire, “retreated and escaped, wandering through the bush for five days.” Nonetheless, he adds, “the (Iswap) fighters continued to search and hunt him down until they were able to locate him.” Summoned to surrender, the terrorist leader preferred to kill himself, concludes the voice over the audio recording, which was attributed to Iswap leader Abu Musab Al-Barnawi.
The death of Abubakar Shekau was announced on May 20 by security sources who also raised the thesis of suicide following an altercation between Boko Haram and Iswap. However, neither the terrorists nor the Nigerian military confirmed this information, and Abuja had announced the opening of an investigation to verify what was then only a rumor.
Recall that clashes between the Boko Haram sect and the ISWAP group had already taken place in the past. Originally forming a single entity, the two groups split in 2016, when Shekau, who had previously pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, was dismissed by the latter for “extremism”. Since then, they have become rivals and have clashed occasionally. The hunt that led to the death of Abubakar Shekau was reportedly ordered by the East-based caliph of IS himself.
The presence in Nigerian territory of these two terrorist organizations complicated the central government’s response to religious extremism. Since Boko Haram’s jihadist insurgency in 2009, the organization is estimated to have killed 40,000 people and forced nearly 2 million to flee their homes.
If other sources confirm Shekau’s death, Nigeria would likely be rid of one of the greatest threats to its security and territorial integrity. However, its demise would likely coincide with an expansion of ISWAP which is clearly seeking to expand its area of influence to Sambisa Forest, considered Boko Haram’s rear base.
The death of the terrorist leader has been announced several times by the Nigerian government in previous years. He had each time denied these allegations through videos.
Source : Agence Ecofin / By Moutiou Adjibi Nourou