A Nigerian military intelligence source has told SaharaReporters that the top Boko Haram figure killed in a recent operation was one Bashir Mohammed, leader of the Islamist sect’s Uye camp.
Cameroonian authorities yesterday released a photo of a dead man they identified as Abubakar Shekau, the loquacious and attention-seeking leader of the terrorist group that has launched deadly strikes in Nigeria’s northeast zone as well as Cameroon.
The Nigerian intelligence source told SaharaReporters that Nigerian soldiers, not Cameroonian troops, had killed Mr. Bashir last Friday in a fierce battle against Boko Haram insurgents in Konduga, Borno State. The late Mr. Bashir, who bore a striking resemblance to Abubakar Shekau and had appeared in a recent video, was killed as he led insurgents who were attempting to capture Konduga and then made a bid to seize Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, as well. Nigerian soldiers routed the Islamist militants in Konduga, killing hundreds of them and capturing weapons as well as vehicles abandoned by fleeing insurgents.
The military as well as Nigerian government-appointed negotiators claim that the original Mr. Shekau had died since last year, reportedly assassinated by his lieutenants.
The intelligence source said Mr. Bashir had adopted Mr. Shekau’s nom deguere and had been the person responsible for issuing video messages in recent times.
Even though our source said the military was cautious not to claim credit for Mr. “Shekau’s” death, he added that the Nigerian military was buoyed by the capture of the armored tank usually displayed in the background of recent videos issued by the sect’s spokesman.