Long standing Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau has reportedly blown himself up after being captured by fighters of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Sources say the incident happened on Wednesday evening following ISWAP’s invasion of Boko Haram base in Sambisa Forest, leading to his capture.
ISWAP, which broke away from the Boko Haram faction in 2016 after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), reportedly raided the group’s hideout using multiple gun trucks.
Shekau’s enclave was tracked down by ISWAP using its forces based in the Timbuktu Triangle. His fighters were killed in the process, followed by a long gunfire exchange between the invading group and Shekau’s bodyguards, according to a Human Angle.
The medium gathered that after his bodyguards were subdued, Shekau surrendered and engaged in an hours-long meeting with the ISWAP fighters. During the parley, he was asked to voluntarily relinquish power and order his fighters in other areas to declare bai’a (allegiance) to ISWAP’s authority. They had expected Shekau to issue a statement.
Sources within the insurgency, however, said that Shekau who secretly had a suicide vest on eventually blew himself up alongside everyone present during the negotiations.
The identities of the people within ISWAP’s leadership who lost their lives to the explosion remain unclear at this time.
Shekau had emerged the leader of Boko Haram in 2009 following the death of the group’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf, leading the terror group in over a decade long war with the Nigerian State.
Many times, he was rumoured to have been killed, but he would later emerge to dismiss the reports.