(PresidentialWire.com)- Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the ISIS-linked terror group Boko Haram and one of Africa’s most wanted men, has died from an apparent suicide.
In an audio recording purportedly from Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the leader of the ISIS West Africa Province (ISWAP), Abubakar Shekau was killed last month when he detonated explosives after a battle between Boko Haram and ISWAP.
Initially, media reports claimed that Shekau blew himself up deliberately in order to avoid being captured by ISWAP fighters. Al Barnawi’s recording appears to confirm these reports. However, neither Nigerian authorities nor Boko Haram have confirmed Shekau’s death.
Over the years, there have been several reports of Shekau’s death. However, subsequent video of the Boko Haram leader would come out showing he was still very much alive.
The 28-minute audio message allegedly from al-Barnawi was obtained by a former jihadist who provides intelligence to the government. In the audio al-Barnawi recounts the events leading up to the death of Shekau.
Al-Barnawi claims ISWAP troops pursued Shekau for days attempting to apprehend him. When they finally confronted him, despite ISWAP troops assuring him they were not trying to kill him only take him into custody, Shekau chose instead to detonate his explosives and blow himself up.
Prior to 2016 al-Barnawi’s group was part of Boko Haram. But after a dispute between Shekau and al-Barnawi, ISWAP broke off from the terror group. Since then, the two groups have been battling for territory.
Abubakar Shekau was notorious for his use of underage boys as child soldiers and, more recently, using underage girls and young women as suicide bombers.
So gruesome and violent was Boko Haram’s leader, in 2012, the US put a $7 million bounty on Shekau’s head.
If reports are true and Shekau is indeed dead, Boko Haram will be severely weakened, opening up the opportunity for ISWAP to take over Boko Haram’s vast territories in northeastern Nigeria. This will be bad news for Nigeria’s military as ISWAP’s routine attacks on military bases constitute a far greater threat against the Nigerian army than Boko Haram ever was.