Boko Haram terrorists confirm death of their leader, Abubakar Shekau

After more than two weeks that the news of the death of the leader of Nigeria's Boko Haram jihadist group,…

After more than two weeks that the news of the death of the leader of Nigeria’s Boko Haram jihadist group, Abubakar Shekau, the group has finally confirmed his death.The report by Nigeria’s local newspaper, the Guardian said on Thursday that Shekau died during infighting with a rival Islamic State-allied faction.

According to the report, a video message from its presumed new commander confirmed the death of Shekau.

“In the short video in Arabic, top Boko Haram commander Bakura Modu, also known as Sahaba, urged his faction’s commanders to remain loyal despite the loss of their historic commander,” the report said.

It added that Shekau’s death was seen as a major shift in Nigeria’s conflict, though Islamic State in West Africa Province or ISWAP has recently emerged as the dominant force in the more than decade-long Islamist insurgency in the country’s northeast.

The report said that the video, provided to AFP by a source close to Boko Haram and confirmed to be Bakura Modu by another local source, illustrates that jihadist infighting is far from over in Nigeria.

The report also quoted security sources as saying that Shekau, who gained notoriety after kidnapping nearly 300 schoolgirls in 2014, killed himself last month rather than surrender after IS-allied rivals attacked his base camp in Nigeria’s northeast Borno state.

“In an audio, ISWAP commander Abu Musab Al-Barnawi had already claimed Shekau killed himself while on the run from ISWAP fighters.

“The undated Boko Haram video shows Bakura flanked by scores of armed fighters in formation as he addresses the camera, in what is traditionally a jihadist group’s way of presenting a new leader,” the report said.

According to the report, the commanders of Jama’atu Ahlu Sunna Lidda’awati Wal Jihad urged the jihadists to 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 you are waging, because Allah has not forsaken your efforts,” he said, urging Boko Haram commanders to reject ISWAP commander Barnawi.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian military has not reacted to the news of the death of Shekau, who had been reported dead on several occasions by Nigerian authorities in the last few years.

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