The Boko Haram leader is dead should the recent news turn out to be true. The Islamic State West Africa Province says Abubakar Shekau detonated explosives on himself to death. But this is yet another death claim on the warlord yet to be confirmed. Several reports had claimed the Boko Haram leader had died many times before.
Now, endless questions are emerging out of this news. For one, what does this mean for Boko Haram and the rivalry between them and Iswap? Even worse is that no official updates are coming from the terrorist organization. Moreover, the Nigerian government is also yet to confirm the claim.
What The Audio Says About the Boko Haram Leader’s Death
Abubakar Shekau’s death claim originates from an undated audio recording. Abu Musab al-Barnawi says Shekau died after detonating an explosive on himself. Abu Musab al-Barnawi is the Iswap leader. He adds in the recording that Shekau chose death over humiliation. This is after Iswap hunted down the Boko Haram leader and demanded his surrender.
But as aforementioned, this is not the first time Shekau has died. Last month, some reports claimed the Boko Haram leader had died. And the Nigerian army promised to issue an update on the same. Last month’s claim says Shekau died after Iswap attacked him at Sambisa forest. While until now no concrete answer is available for approval, Shekau is dead again.
What is Next After the Boko Haram Leader Death Saga?
No one can tell what Shekau’s death will mean for Boko Haram. But one thing for sure is, it will not end cases of Jihadism in the West African countries. That is because the Islamic State West Africa Province is still operational. In fact, the Iswap has become so prominent in the region with its successful attacks in Nigeria.
And now, with the Boko Haram leader dead, it means Iswap may woe the remaining fighters to join them. But, of course, this also comes with significant consequences for the good and the bad. For one, it will mean lesser conflicts between the two groups. But will boost the Islamic State West Africa Province’s footprint in West Africa. The other possibility is that Shekau militants could join other extremist formations.
The worst of possible scenarios is when Boko Haram remains intact. Creating their faction could be a recipe for more chaos. Conflicts between the two groups will continue, and disastrous results are evident. It will worsen when civilians are caught in the middle of the war for supremacy in northeast Nigeria.
Some analysts believe Shekau’s death will be the end of violence in West Africa. Others say Iswap will absorb Boko Haram militants. But the chances of his fighters staying together are high. Besides, the sudden death of the Boko Haram leader also complicates the whole thing. The Boko Haram group did not meet to decide who takes over upon Shekau’s demise. So, it is likely that the camp will fight itself from within.
Everything about Abubakar Shekau’s death is not yet confirmed. With differing opinions on the issue, it is challenging to conclude on anything. People can only wait for time to deliver the much-needed answers.