Nigeria army nabs over 260 Boko Haram militants
The Nigerian military says it has arrested more than 260 Takfiri Boko Haram militants in the African country’s northeast.
The army said on Wednesday that 135 militants surrendered with their weapons in Borno State on Tuesday, while 133 others surrendered elsewhere in the northeastern part of the country. They are reportedly being interrogated.
The development comes as the Nigerian military has increased its operations against the Takfiri militants in the northeast since they captured several small towns there.
Defense spokesman Major-General Chris Olukolade, meanwhile, told reporters in Abuja that the army has killed a man posing as the group’s leader in many videos during clashes in the town of Konduga.
The man, identified as Mohammed Bashir, “had been acting or posing in videos as the deceased Abubakar Shekau, the eccentric character known as leader of the group,” he said.
It is the first time the Nigerian military has announced publicly that Shekau is dead. Security sources had previously claimed that he had died in July 2009 clashes. Another allegation about his death was made in late June 2013.
Marilyn Ogar, the spokeswoman for the country’s secret police, had noted earlier this year that “the original Shekau is dead” and the person seen in numerous videos is an imposter.
Olukolade further said that that Bashir had several identities, namely “Bashir Mohammed, alias Abubakar Shekau, alias Abacha Abdullahi Geidam, alias Damasak, etc.”
Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for many deadly shooting attacks and bomb blasts in various parts of Nigeria since the beginning of its operations in 2009. More than 10,000 people have so far been killed in the attacks.
The group, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” says its goal is to overthrow the Nigerian government.