Boko Haram factional leader who has evaded the Nigerian military for years, Abubakar Shekau, has killed himself during a violent clash between his faction and the Islamic State West African Province fighters who overran the Sambisa Forest in Borno State.
Multiple military sources confirmed to SaharaReporters that Shekau blew up himself with an explosive when it was clear that the ISWAP fighters wanted him to relinquish power to them, after all his commanders were captured and killed in the forest.
It was learnt that the incident took place on Wednesday evening following the invasion of the terror group’s stronghold in the Sambisa forest area by ISWAP deadlier fighters.
ISWAP, which had broken away from the Shekau-led Boko Haram faction in 2016 after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, reportedly raided the group’s hideout using no fewer than 50 gun trucks.
According to HumAngle, Shekau’s enclave was tracked down by ISWAP using its forces based in the Timbuktu Triangle. His fighters were killed in the process, followed by a long gunfire exchange between the invading group and Shekau’s bodyguards.
Shekau had been the leader of Boko Haram since 2009 following the death of the group’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf.
He had been rumoured to have been killed by the Nigerian military at least four times between July 2009 and August 2015.
In August 2016, the Nigerian Air Force had claimed he had been “fatally wounded” by military bombardments, but the terror group released a video only a month later showing he was alive and in good health.
Sources added that top ISWAP ground commander, Baana Duguri, operating at Pulka in Gwoza Local Government, reportedly told ISWAP’s logistics commander Modu Sulum in Konduga that his men surrounded Shekau and his bodyguards in Sambisa forest and a fierce shootout ensued.
The ISWAP chief reportedly said Shekau ran for dear life and tried to escape but when ISWAP men surrounded him and he was about to be captured, he detonated a grenade and killed himself.
After the incident, a fierce fight ensued between men of the two factions and both sides suffered heavy casualties, according to well informed security sources. There has been jubilation since then in ISWAP camps with shouts of “Allahu akbar!,” glorifying God for the terrorist faction’s claimed military success.