Abubakar Shekau, current Leader of the Boko Haram sect, a terrorist organization which has over the years threatened the nation’s security, has reportedly died.
Shekau has led the Boko Haram faction since 2009, following the death of the group’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf.
According to reports, he died on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, after the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters invaded the Boko Haram stronghold in Sambisa forest with multiple gun trucks.
ISWAP is said to have broken away from the Boko Haram-led group in 2016 after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS).
It was gathered that Shekau deliberately blew himself up in order to evade being captured by the ISWAP fighters, who surrounded his hideout.
It was gathered that the Boko Haram leader was asked to willingly submit and order his followers in other areas to declare allegiance to ISWAP’s authority.
The death of Shekau has, however, not been confirmed by the Federal government or the Nigerian Army. The Army said they have not received any intelligence confirmation that the insurgent is dead.
This is not the first time the Boko Haram leader is pronounced dead. Before now, Shekau has been reported dead four times between 2009 to 2016.
In 2009, security operatives launched an attack against the group and hundreds of the insurgents were reportedly killed alongside Shekau. But less than a year later, he appeared in a video announcing himself as the new Boko haram leader.
Also in 2013, the Nigeria Army had announced how badly he had been wounded as they raided Sambisa forest, but in September of the same year, a man was seen in a video claiming to be Shekau, declaring he was still alive.
In another incident in 2014, the Nigerian Army, backed up by the Cameroonian Military, had also said Shekau died in a battle in Kodunga. But the news was, again, disclaimed by Shekau.
The late President of Chad, Idris Deby Itno, had announced in 2015 that another leader had taken over from Shekau. But in an Audio message, Shekau said he was still alive and remained the leader of the group.
In August 2016, the Nigerian Airforce claimed he had been brutally wounded and killed by other leaders through airstrike engagements in the Taye village. But barely a month after, the sect leader was seen in a video declaring that he was alive and in good health.
Nigerians, her neighbors and the many victims of the sect’s atrocious activities can only wait and hope that this time, the dreaded sect leader is truly dead and with him the group’s activities.
On Friday, May 21, 2021, some residents of Maiduguri, Borno State, expressed delight over media reports on the death of Shekau.
A cross-section of residents, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said they were excited with the news and prayed it was true.
“I am happy like others in Borno about this news and pray it’s real.
“I also pray that the development will serve as a major breakthrough that will facilitate the end of this crisis,’’ a member of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), who simply identified himself as Lawan, said.