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Nigeria’s Boko Haram confirms death of notorious ringleader

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Abubakar Shekau, chief of the Nigeria-based Boko Haram terror group, is seen laughing in a video message from an unknown location, in this file photo. (By AFP)

The Nigeria-based Boko Haram terrorist group has confirmed the death of its notorious ringleader, Abubakar Shekau, who was recently reported to have killed himself following clashes with rival militants similarly allied to Daesh.

In a short video message, Boko Haram’s top militant commander Bakura Modu, also known as Sahaba, was seen surrounded by militants while addressing the camera as the new leader of the Daesh-affiliated Takfiri outfit, urging his militants to stay loyal to the group.

The undated video was provided to the AFP by a source close to Boko Haram, the agency reported Wednesday.

It was released over a week after Boko Haram’s main rival, another Daesh-affiliated faction operating in West Africa known as ISWAP, said Shekau had been hunted down by ISWAP and asked to pledge loyalty to the terror group.

ISWAP chief Abu Musab al-Barnawi was heard saying in an audio message, obtained by news agencies, that Shekau refused to join them and chose instead to “kill himself” instantly by detonating an explosive.

Shekau is said to have died around May 18. Nigerian intelligence sources also confirmed his death.

Boko Haram started from an underground African-terrorist group in 2009 and gained ground by killing, kidnapping and looting its way across northeast of Nigeria before pledging allegiance to Daesh.

Shekau gained notoriety after kidnapping 270 schoolgirls in 2014 from the town of Chibok. Some of the girls were rescued, but around 100 of them are still missing, possibly having died in captivity.  

More than 30,000 people have been killed in over a decade of terrorism in Nigeria by the Boko Haram Takrifi group, which has spilled over into neighboring Chad, Niger, and Cameroon and has forced more than two million people to flee their homes.

ISWAP split from Boko Haram five years ago amid a conflict, separately pledging allegiance to the Daesh terrorist group.


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