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Nigerian army investigating reports that Boko Haram leader died blowing himself up to avoid capture

The Nigerian army is allegedly investigating reports that Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau died after blowing himself up to avoid capture by a rival group. Shekau has to lead the extremist group for years, waging an insurgency in northeast Nigeria for more than a decade. There were multiple reports across Nigerian media on Thursday claiming that Shekau died by suicide rather than be taken alive following clashes with a rival group. Other reports by international news outlets suggest that he may have been badly wounded. This is not the first time that Shekau has been declared dead, and each time he has later appeared in videos taunting his detractors. Therefore, there is skepticism that the event actually occurred.

Nigerian Army spokesman Mohammed Yerima stated that the Nigerian military is still investigating the reports, saying that the military will not confirm Shekau’s death publicly because of what had happened in the past. Seyi Adetayo, a former officer of Nigeria’s Department of State Services stated that it was embarrassing for the army to announce that the extremist was dead previously, only to have the reports be false. Reports from a group close to Boko Haram stated that Shekau was wearing a suicide vest at the time and detonated it upon his capture, killing himself.

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