ABUJA, Nigeria, Sept. 2 (UPI) — Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is dead, a Nigerian army commander confirmed Friday.
Shekau was reported injured and “fatally wounded” in an Aug. 23 airstrike which killed several other Boko Haram leaders. Friday’s announcement of confirmation of his death came not from the army’s public relations department, the usual method for releasing military information regarding the fight against Boko Haram, but from Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole, the campaign to eradicate the Islamist group. Irabor added a Shekau look-alike, used by Boko Haram in the past for propaganda purposes, was also wounded in the airstrike.
“I can confirm to you that the original Shekau was killed, the second Shekau was killed, and the man presenting himself as Shekau, I can also confirm to you that few days ago, he was wounded. We are yet to confirm whether he is dead or not,” Irabor said.
He added that Boko Haram videos suggesting Shekau is still alive are “just a facade.”
Shekau’s unconfirmed death has been announced at least five times in the past.
Since 2009, the Islamic State-aligned Boko Haram has led a campaign of violence and terrorism in Nigeria and surrounding countries in an attempt to establish a fundamentalist Islamic caliphate. Thousands of people have been killed and over two million people have been displaced.