Abubakar Shekau, leader of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, which has been up in arms against the Nigerian state for the past 12 years, has died, a report has revealed.
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Shekau committed suicide following the invasion of the terror group’s stronghold in the Sambisa forest area by a column of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters on Wednesday evening, according to HumAngle.
According to the publication which has reported extensively on Boko Haram, Shekau’s enclave was tracked down by ISWAP using its forces based in the Timbuktu Triangle.
ISWAP broke away from the Shekau-led Boko Haram faction in 2016 after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) and has being led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi.
The ISWAP fighters used multiple gun trucks to clear their way into the forest and killed several Boko Haram fighters in order to gain access to Shekau’s location, the report noted.
After his bodyguards were killed, Shekau surrendered and engaged in an hours-long meeting with the ISWAP fighters, who during a parley asked him to voluntarily relinquish power and order his fighters in other areas to declare allegiance to ISWAP’s authority.
Although the ISWAP leadership were expecting Shekau to issue a statement pledging alliance to the group, he suddenly activated a suicide vest he secretly wore and blew himself up alongside everyone present during the negotiations, the report stated.
The identities of the people within ISWAP’s leadership who lost their lives to the explosion remain unclear at this time.
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 at least four times between July 2009 and August 2015.