The dreaded leader of the Boko Haram terrorist group, Abubakar Shekau, has been seriously wounded or maybe feared dead after opting to commit suicide to avoid being captured during clashes with rival ISWAP jihadists in northern Nigeria.
Shekau’s Boko Haram faction has battled with the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters in what can be described as a decade-long tussle for dominance in northern Nigeria.
Shekau, who made international headlines when his men kidnapped nearly 300 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014, has been reported dead several times since Boko Haram first began its insurgency in 2009.
However, on Wednesday, after over an hour-long battle, Shekau and some of his fighters were surrounded by the ISWAP faction in the Sambisa forest stronghold, where they demanded he surrenders.
According to reports, Shekau shot himself in the chest to avoid being captured.
Another intelligence source said Shekau was critically wounded after detonating explosives in the house where he was holed up with his men.
“We are investigating,” Nigeria’s army spokesman Mohammed Yerima told AFP by text, asked about those reports.
Shekau’s critical injury or death would be a blow to his Boko Haram faction which has already been weakened by military airstrikes on its bases and defections among his men.
More than 40,000 people have been killed and over two million displaced from their homes by the conflict in northeast Nigeria, and fighting