New Delhi: Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau killed himself during a fight against the rival jihadist group from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), according to an audio recording obtained by the Agence-France Presse. The development comes two weeks after reports claimed that he had died. Also Read - After Suspending Twitter For Indefinite Period, Nigeria Now Opens Account On India's Koo
“Shekau preferred to be humiliated in the hereafter to getting humiliated on earth. He killed himself instantly by detonating an explosive,” said a voice in Kanuri language resembling that of ISWAP leader Abu Musab Al-Barnawi. Also Read - Can India Suspend Twitter Like Nigeria if It Fails to Comply With New IT rules? EXPLAINED
Meanwhile, Boko Haram has still not confirmed or commented on the death of its leader. Also Read - India's Koo Plans Social Media Opening in Nigeria After Country Suspends Twitter Indefinitely
Speaking to AFP about the leader, ISWAP described in the audiotape that it sent out fighters to Boko Haram enclave in the Sambisa forest and found Shekhau sitting in his house. They opened fire.
“From there he retreated and escaped, ran and roamed the bushes for five days. However, the fighters kept searching and hunting for him before they were able to locate him,” the source in the audiotape said.
With nowhere else to go as ISWAP fighters surrounded Shekhau, who was hiding in a bush, he chose to kill himself instead of making his followers repent.
“We are so happy…,” Shekau was “someone who committed unimaginable terrorism and atrocities.”
Two weeks ago, reports suggested that Abubakar Shekau had been seriously wounded in an attempt to kill himself amid clashes with rival ISIS allies in northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram has been trying to establish the Islamic Sharia law in northeastern Nigeria since 2009, extending its attacks to countries in the Lake Chad Basin. Its original members included followers of militant preacher Mohammed Yusuf from Borno, who wanted to convert Nigeria.
However, when the founder died in police custody in 2009, Shekhau took over as the group’s new leader. Under his leadership, Boko Haram became a full-fledged insurgency group, staging bombings and prison breaks across Nigeria. Shekhau made international headlines when his men kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014. He had a $7 million bounty placed on his head by the United States.