Is Boko Haram Really Leaderless?

The Nigerian army says it is looking into reports that Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has died after blowing himself up to avoid being captured by a rival group. Shekau, the long-time leader of the extremist group has waged an insurgency in northeast Nigeria for more than a decade. There were multiple reports across Nigerian media Thursday claiming that he had died by suicide rather than be taken alive following clashes with a rival group. Other reports by international news outlets suggested he was either dead or badly wounded. A source close to Boko Haram told CNN he learned Shekau died on Wednesday evening after detonating a suicide vest he was wearing. The source is not involved with the group’s activities but has had close contact over the years with some of its members. The source told CNN that Shekau was traced to his Sambisa forest hideout and asked to surrender and plead allegiance to the Islamic State West African Province, (ISWAP) a group that broke away from Boko Haram in 2016 to align with ISIS.

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