A faction of Jama’atu Ahlu Sunna Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, the original name by which Boko Haram is known, has finally confirmed the death of its erstwhile leader, Abubakar Shekau. The corfimation which states that the former terror was said to have met his end in a fight with rival Islamic group, the Islamic State in West Africa Province, ISWAP, was made in a short Arabic video in which one of the group’s top commanders, Bakura Modu, also known as Sahaba, urged his other fellow commanders to remain loyal despite the loss of the boss.
“Commanders of Jama’atu Ahlu Sunna Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, be steadfast and draw your swords, spreading your jihad, decapitating the enemy. Don’t allow what befalls you these days to weaken your resolve on the jihad your are waging, because Allah has not forsaken your efforts,” Bakura said.
Shekau, who became infamous after the kidnap of nearly 300 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014, is said to have killed himself a few weeks ago instead of surrendering to ISWAP led attack on his base camp in Nigeria’s northeast Borno state.
Credible reports have it that infighting between the jihadists intensified after Shekau’s rumoured death. The development saw his loyalists engaged in pitch battles with ISWAP, led by Barnawi, who is alleged to have decided to move against Shekau’s remaining commanders who refused to surrender and join ISWAP.
The factionalized jihadists are known to have had skirmishes since ISWAP parted ways with Boko Haram in 2016 due largely to its commanders’ objection to the indiscriminate manner Shekau targeted Muslim civilians and use of women as suicide bombers.
Though experts are of the opinion that Shekau’s death may represents a major positive shift in Nigeria’s war against insurgency, there is however, the presence of ISWAP which still poses a major threat to the effort in the country’s northeast.
Meanwhile, while Bakura’s faction is hiding fortes around the Lake Chad area with access to the very porous Chad and Niger borders, ISWAP lords over Shekau’s erstwhile Sambisa stronghold where its leader, Barnawi, is predicted to contend with fierce opposition from hardliners who share Shekau’s philosophy.
More than 40,000 people are reported dead since the conflict began in 2009 just as over two million others have been displaced from their homes.
- INEC Adds More Polling Units
- Eriksen to Wear Heart-Starting Device