The U.S. has yet to independently verify the death of Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Boko Haram terrorist organization, despite reports of his death surfacing on Friday.
Boko Haram is an Islamist terror group operating in Nigeria. The Nigerian government has incorrectly reported Shekau’s death at least three times before, according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), though it has not released an official statement in this instance. The U.S. is taking a cautious approach to reports of his death, with President Joe Biden’s National Security Council (NSC) saying U.S. intelligence continues to monitor the situation. (RELATED: At Least 110 Killed In Attack By Extremist Group On Nigerian Farms, Report Says)
— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) May 21, 2021
WSJ based its report of Shekau’s death on interactions with local officials as well as intercepted communications between militants.
“The Journal was able to review transcripts of geolocated, intercepted calls between insurgents discussing his suicide, alongside an audio message from a longtime mediator between Shekau and the government reporting him dead,” WSJ wrote.
“Shekau detonated a bomb and killed himself,” one intercepted militant commander reportedly said.
Boko Haram is a designated terror group that has operated in Nigeria for nearly a decade, slaughtering villages in coordinated attacks and carrying out numerous suicide bombings.
At least a hundred people were killed in two villages in western Niger, Prime Minister Brigi Rafini said, following a suspected militant attack during the weekend https://t.co/8S94ch5KNc pic.twitter.com/Z9RzlCrK4M
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 4, 2021
The group also infamously kidnapped nearly 300 school girls in 2014 under Shekau’s leadership and held them for years afterward.