Leader of the dreaded Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, is dead, according to Premium Times report, quoting HumAngle, an online newspaper.
The incident occurred on Wednesday evening 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.
ISWAP, which had broken away from the Shekau-led Boko Haram faction in 2016 after pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), raided the group’s hideout using multiple gun trucks.
Mr 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.
HumAngle gathered that after his bodyguards were subdued, Mr 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 Mr 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.
Mr Shekau had been the leader of Boko Haram since 2009 following the death of the group’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf.
In Aug. 2016, the Nigerian Air Force claimed he had been “fatally wounded” by military bombardments, but the terror group released a video only a month later showing he was alive and in good health.