The death of the leader of the Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram has been confirmed by a rival extremist faction, which said it carried out the assassination on the direct orders of the Islamic State leadership thousands of miles away in the Middle East.
Abubakar Shekau, one of the most infamous leaders of Islamic militant groups around the world, died last month after an explosive device was detonated while being pursued by fighters from the West African province of Islamic State (ISAP). The Isouap fighters had invaded the Sambisa Forest, part of a strategically important dense forest in northeastern Nigeria, which was the base of Shekau.
His death has both delighted and embarrassed Nigerian and international security services, which have spent a decade devoting vast resources to hunting Shekau.
The fact that the operation against Shekau was launched on the direct orders of Isis̵
Islamic extremist factions in the Sahel have intensified attacks in recent months, bringing new levels of violence to some regions. More than 120 villagers were killed in an attack in Burkina Faso last week in one of the bloodiest massacres ever recorded. No group has claimed responsibility.
An audiotape received by Humangle, a respected local news website with strong links between insurgents and counterterrorism agencies, could hear Iswap leader Abu Musab al-Barnawi tell his followers that Shekau’s death was in response to orders from the new leader. of the Islamic State Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi.
“[Shekau] has committed unimaginable terrorism. How much did he waste? How many did he kill? How much did he terrorize? But Allah left him alone and prolonged his life. When the time came, Allah sent brave soldiers after receiving orders from the leader of the believers, “he said, according to a report on the Humangle website.
The Barnaui faction seceded from Boko Haram in 2016 after personal, religious and strategic disputes. The faction was later accepted by the Islamic State leadership in Iraq and Syria as its branch in the region, after Shekau proved impossible to control.
Barnaway, who is considered relatively moderate among the region’s extremist leaders, was given the role of head of an “audit mission” sent from the Middle East by Isis earlier this year, said Vincent Fuscher, an expert on Islamist extremism in Nigeria with the International Crisis Group. .
Shekau initially escaped the attack on the Sambisa forest, hiding from Ishuap’s fighters for five days, Barnaui said in a statement.
When he was found, Shekau escaped again, was captured once more, and then refused an offer to surrender. Although most of his followers are believed to have disbanded or changed their allegiance, at least one of the various factions that make up Boko Haram opposes Barnaui’s rule.
Shekau was responsible for the use of young women and girls as suicide bombers, as well as the abduction of 300 college students in 2014, in an incident that made world headlines. His unpredictability and propensity for the most extreme and violent strategies explain the orders given to eliminate him.
The death of the former street boy leaves Isouap as an unsurpassed Islamic extremist group in the Lake Chad basin area.