Abubakar Shekau, the notorious leader of Boko Haram may have been killed yet again. The difference from prior times when the notorious leader was said to have been killed is that some outlets are reporting an image which bears the resemblance of Shekau has also surfaced. YNaija, an online newspaper for young Nigerians, reported the Cameroonian military claimed to have captured a photo showing Shekau moments after he was shot and killed.
BBC News reported about 260 extremist militants have surrendered in the north-eastern part of Nigeria. The Nigerian military stated about 135 Boko Haram militants gave up their weapons in Biu, Borno State and another 133 had surrendered their weapons elsewhere. Though BBC stated verification of thee reports on the death of Shekau appear to be impossible, the news station also stated if such occurrence is true, it would be a “major turning point” in the army’s search for the militant leader.
The Nigerian military stated a man named Mohammed Bashir appeared to be the man who was actually killed and is often mistakened for Shekau. General Chris Olukolade stated Bashir could have been acting as Shekau, who is believed to have died either in 2009 or in 2013. According to a statement made by the Nigerian military in August 2013, Shekau “may have died” in a shoot-out at the Boko Haram camp in the Sambisa Forest, which is located near the border of Nigeria and Cameroon.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau could have been killed again and a statement about his death was made by the Cameroonian military. The army had stated Shekau, or his imposter, was killed by aerial bombardment at a Boko Haram hideout in Nigeria, according to YNaija. The military claimed to have been in “serious combat” with Boko Haram fighters who had been trying to enter Cameroon from Gambaral Ngala, Nigeria. The report by YNaija acknowledged the Nigerian military had also claimed to have killed the same man on Sept. 17 in Konduga, Borno State.
Vice News, an international news organization, reported on the image the Cameroonian military had provided on a social media website. According to the news organization, there was little to no information about the photo, or the “alleged killing” of Shekau. Anonymous security sources reportedly stated the man in the picture could have been a “body double used by Shekau.” Though the accuracy of the man’s identity in the photo and the events surrounding it are uncertain, reports surrounding the death of Shekau have been numerous and difficult to verify.
Videos of the notorious Boko Haram leader have surfaced in which Shekau claims to have not been killed by any military forces. Officials are uncertain whether these reports are true, or whether an imposter looking like Shekau is trying to keep his leadership alive. Boko Haram is notorious for extreme Islamic militant attacks and kidnappings in Nigeria, including the notorious kidnapping of 200 school girls from Chibok in April which lead to the online campaign, “Bring Back Our Girls.”
One of the most recent attacks by the militant group killed 36 people in Mainok on Friday, Sept. 19, according to Newsweek. Both the Nigerian and Cameroonian military claimed to have been battling Boko Haram fighters along the border as well, which has also seen tens of thousands of refugees fleeing to Cameroon. Vice News reported a Human Rights Watch Group stated about 2000 people have been killed in the first half of 2014 by Boko Haram attacks.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has reportedly been killed again, but according to the report by BBC, a Nigerian journalist named Ahmad Salkida has contacts with the militant group and recently tweeted that Shekau is actually “well and alive.”
By Liz Pimentel